Nigerian Law Suit Against Shell Opens in the Hague

Filed under: Africa |
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Nigerians live in poverty while their oil is stolen

AFRICANGLOBE – Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell is to appear in a Dutch court to account for alleged environmental pollution in Nigeria, environmental rights group, Friends of the Earth International has said.

The court case against Shell’s oil spills in Nigeria had been filed by four Nigerian plaintiffs in conjunction with Friends of the Earth Netherlands and supported by Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

Friends of the Earth International said in a release that Shell would appear in a Dutch court on October 11, to account for damage it caused abroad. Lawyers for both parties will plea at the key hearing in The Hague, while the court verdict is expected early in 2013.

“This court case will have groundbreaking legal repercussions for multinational corporations globally, and especially for European corporations,” said Globalisation Campaign Leader at Friends of the Earth Netherlands/ Milieudefensie, Geert Ritsema

He added: “Due to the poor maintenance of pipelines and factories, Shell let tens of millions of barrels of oil leak in the Niger Delta, with disastrous consequences for local people and the environment. The Anglo Dutch oil giant must now stop its pollution, compensate the damage and prevent more oil spills from happening.”

Ritsema and Director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Hans Berkhuizen, according to the release were to conduct a fact-finding mission in Nigeria from September 27 – October 2.

“Nigerians have to sue Shell in The Netherlands to obtain justice. Meanwhile Shell uses the threat of legal action to attempt to silence legitimate protests, for instance the recent Greenpeace protests against Shell in Europe. They pollute with impunity, destroy livelihoods and block dissent. This is deplorable,” said the Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, Nnimmo Bassey.

“We want to see an end to the corporate crimes committed by oil giants like Shell in Nigeria and around the world,” Bassey added.

In May 2008, four Nigerian fishermen and farmers from the villages of Goi, Ikot Ada Udo and Oruma, in conjunction with Friends of the Earth Netherlands / Milieudefensie and supported by Friends of the Earth Nigeria / ERA, started a legal case against Shell Nigeria and its parent company in the Netherlands.