Shell pollution in Nigeria, trial in England?

This video says about itself:

13 November 2014

Court documents expose Shell‘s false claims on Nigeria oil spills. Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International‘s Director of Global Issues explains the significance of these documents and the potential repercussions.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Judges to rule on reckoning for dirty Shell

Wednesday 25th January 2017

WIll despoilers face court for Nigeria pollution?

THE High Court will decide tomorrow whether rural communities in Nigeria devastated by oil spills will have their cases against Shell UK Limited heard in Britain — in what could become landmark victories.

If the ruling is made in the communities’ favour, it would mean that other transnational firms based in Britain can then be held to account for cases of human rights abuse overseas.

But Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), argues that the case falls outside British jurisdiction.

Rights charity Amnesty International said that communities affected by oil pollution regularly face “insurmountable challenges” in Nigeria when trying to take Shell to court.

Two separate legal actions have been brought against Shell on behalf of more than 42,000 people from the Ogale and Bille communities in the Niger delta in Nigeria’s southern Rivers State, whose lives have been blighted by the pollution caused by oil spills.

People living in the delta have been affected by hundreds of oil spills each year, and this pollution has been going on for decades, Amnesty has reported.

It says that residents’ “environment and livelihoods were destroyed by oil spills.”

Under Nigerian law SPDC, the largest oil operator in the region, is liable for clean-up operations, whatever the cause.

But many contractors have been failing to do so properly, according to a report published by Amnesty in 2015.

The charity reported that women, men and children living in the delta have to drink, cook with and wash in polluted water.

Pollution has also entered the food chain as land to grow crops has been contaminated as well as the fish that are eaten.

The effect on the health of the affected communities is said to include breathing problems and skin lesions.

Sarah Shoraka of the global oil and environment campaign group Platform London said: “Shell continues a colonial tradition in which fossil fuels are extracted in the Niger delta and shipped to North America and Europe.

“It acts with impunity destroying health and livelihoods. Shell is a UK company and must be held to account for its human rights abuses in the UK courts.”

Shell has been pumping oil from the delta since 1958, when Nigeria was still a British colony.

6 thoughts on “Shell pollution in Nigeria, trial in England?

  1. Friday 27th January 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    Court rules case over oil spills will have to be heard in Nigeria

    by Felicity Collier

    OIL giant Shell successfully blocked more than 40,000 Nigerians from holding it to account for oil spills in the English courts yesterday.

    The complainants will have to take Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) and its subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) to court in Nigeria, the High Court in London ruled yesterday.

    One action was brought on behalf of the Ogale community in Ogoniland, consisting of 40,000 people.

    The other case relates to 2,335 individuals from the Bille Kingdom of Nigeria, mostly fisherfolk.

    British lawyers for the communities insisted that the only route to “justice” is in England, where the firm is incorporated.

    Human rights charity Amnesty warned that the ruling “sets an especially dangerous precedent” and it “could allow UK multinationals to commit abuses overseas with impunity.”

    Amnesty said it had hoped to build on a landmark settlement in January 2015, when a British law firm won against Shell, who agreed to pay £55 million to the Bodo community in the Niger Delta. Shell originally offered just £4,000.

    Amnesty said that in 2015 Shell was forced to admit that for years it had understated the size of the oil spills.

    “Only the UK court process was able to bring this to light,” it said.

    Daniel Leader, a partner at British law firm Leigh Day, which represents the two communities, said: “It is our view that the judgement failed to consider critical evidence which shows the decisive direction and control Royal Dutch Shell exercises over its Nigerian subsidiary.

    “It is also inconsistent with recent judgements of the European Court of Justice and the Dutch Court of Appeal.”

    Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi, tribal king of the Ogale community, said: “There is no hope of justice in the Nigerian courts. We still very much believe in the British justice system and so we are going to appeal this decision.”

    Chief Temebo, spokesman for the Bille Council of Chiefs, said: “If the claim does not continue in the English courts, we have no hope that the environment will ever be cleaned up and the fish will ever return to our waters.”


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