The chairman of one of Africa’s biggest banks, Ibukun Awosika may be in trouble. In fact, she risks jail.

On Wednesday, the Federal High Court in Lagos convicted First Bank of Nigeria Limited; its chairman, Mrs. Awosika; and Managing Director, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, of contempt of court.

The court dismissed their preliminary objection to a contempt charge filed against them by the Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.

According to a Punch report, the court found them guilty of refusal of the bank to release 17 billion naira and interests that First Bank allegedly guaranteed to pay the community on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC of Nigeria Limited.

The bond is in respect of the judgment debt against SPDC in an oil spill suit filed by the community.

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Justice Ibrahim Buba, however, suspended the sentencing for three months to enable the bank and its officials to purge themselves of the contempt.

The judge said if the convicts failed to purge themselves of the contempt by September 6, they would be sent to prison.

Ten indigenes of Ejama community in Ogoniland had sued Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Netherlands; Royal Dutch Shell Plc, United Kingdom; and SPDC at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt over alleged oil spills that occurred when Shell operated in the community.

Justice Buba, who heard the case while sitting in Port Harcourt, awarded 17 billion-naira to the community’s representatives in 2010, as well as 25% interest on the principal sum, among other reliefs.

Shell appealed the judgment and applied for a stay of execution pending the appeal.

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