First Bank chairman and the MD, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, and Dr. Adesola Adeduntan respectively, have been sentenced to three months imprisonment by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for contempt.
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The sentence was however put in abeyance by the judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, to enable the bank to respect the court’s earlier judgment.
Awosika and Adeduntan’s sentence followed the dismissal of the court of First Bank’s preliminary objection to a contempt charge filed against the bank by the Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In the previous judgment in the case between the bank and the community, the former had been found guilty of refusal to release N17bn and interests that it guaranteed to pay the latter on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, who were dragged to court by ten indigenes of Ejama community in Ogoniland.
The judge said if the bank failed to pay the money to the community by September 6, Awosika and Adeduntan would be sent to prison.