Court orders Shell to pay farmers compensation for oil spills
A Dutch court on Friday ordered oil giant Shell to pay compensation in a case brought by four Nigerian farmers who alleged widespread pollution in their villages Goi, Oruma, and Ikot Ada Udo.
Goi and Oruma are located in Rivers State while Ikot Ada Udo is located in Akwa Ibom State all within the Niger Delta Region.
The court also ordered Shell to install new pipeline equipment to prevent further devastating spills in the Niger Delta region.
This judgment was passed on Friday in the Court of Appeal in The Hague after 13 years of court proceedings.
The case was initiated in 2008 by the farmers and Friends of the Earth campaign group, who were seeking reparations for lost income from contaminated land and waterways in the Niger Delta region, the heart of the Nigerian oil industry.
“Shell Nigeria is sentenced to compensate farmers for damages,” the court said.
The amount of damages would be determined later, it said. It did not specify how many of the four farmers would receive compensation.
Shell had argued that saboteurs were responsible for the leaks. But the court said the company had not proven “beyond reasonable doubt” that this was the case, rather than poor maintenance.
“This makes Shell Nigeria responsible for the damage caused by the leaks” in the villages of Goi and Oruma, the court said.
Shell said it was “disappointed” with the verdict.
“We continue to believe that the spills in Oruma and Goi were the results of sabotage,” it said in a statement.
Immediately after the judgment, Friends of the Earth campaign group tweeted, “Tears of joy here. After 13 years, we’ve won,” the group’s Dutch branch tweeted following the ruling.”