The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has welcome Shell disclosure to pay N45.7 billion final compensation for an oil spill Ejama-Ebubu Community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Recall that members of Ejama-Ebubu filed a writ against Shell at the Nigeria’s Federal High Court of justice in 1991, following the alleged default by Shell to take responsibility for the oil spill it caused in the Community and remediate and restore their environment in 1970.
In furtherance to this legal action, in 2010 the federal High court awarded compensation to the Community in the sum of N17 billion but Shell in its usual intransigence vigorously objected to paying the compensation awarded by the court and proceeded to drag out the case before the Supreme court in November 2020, rejected Shell’s last ditch bid to set aside the 2010 compensation award after 11 years of Shell’s intransigence, ballooned to N180 billion.
ERA/FoEN in reaction to the court verdict, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi 0jo, accused the multinational organization of major dubious rip-off of the Community after 30 years harrowing legal obstacles in a bid by Shell to deny people from the impacted Communities justice.
According to the statement, “This same scenario played out in the case of Saro-Wiwa and other vs Shell in New York in 2009, Bodo vs Shell at the industrial court in London 2016. Shell’s refusal to accept responsibility implies that the company is yet to learn any lesson from their wanton destruction of the environment and therefore unwilling to make changes to their clean-up operations from their frequent oil spills and destruction of livelihoods.
On his part, Director of Programmes of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Mike Karikpo, described the recent admissibility by Shell compensation payout as a bitter-sweet victory.
He described Shell’s commitment as merely a fraction of what the company owes the Ejama-Ebubu Community. Shell has gotten away again with shortchanging the people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The human rights watch thereafter called on Communities in the Niger Delta region impacted by reckless oil extraction to demand full accountability from every oil company.
“As the short-lived age of oil comes to an end soon, it is imperative that all oil impacted ecosystems across the Country should be cleaned, restored and adequate compensation paid to Communities and individuals whose livelihoods were impacted”, according to the statement.