Shell in court over Nigeria spills
ABUJA, March 2, 2016 – Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) found itself in court on Wednesday over spill sites in the Niger Delta that claimants say are still contaminated.
The Ogale and Bille communities, mainly fishermen and farmers, hope to lodge a case against the Nigerian arm of the Anglo-Dutch supermajor. The Ogale community claims that oil spills have left them without clean drinking water and useable farmland. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2011 determined that the water was indeed contaminated with Benzene.
According to Shell, a plan to resolve the situation is in place. “In mid-2015 SPDC JV, along with the government, UNEP and representatives of the Ogoni community, agreed to an 18-month roadmap to fast-track the environmental clean-up and remediation of Ogoniland which includes a governance framework,” a company statement read.
Representing the communities, UK law firm Leigh Day said that the Bille people hope to hold Shell responsible for “failing to protect their pipelines from damage caused by third parties.”
The law firm negotiated a USD 84-million settlement with Shell on behalf of the Bodo community in January 2015, ending a four-year-long dispute.
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