Two Nigerian Niger Delta communities are suing Shell and asking for compensation for oil spills on their land.
It is the second in five years that the oil giant, much criticized for the pollution of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region will be sued to court.
One of the two communities involved is the Ogale community with a population of 40,000. In an area where most people derive their livelihood from fishing, oil spills have deprived the people of their livelihood as well as clean water.
The Bille community is the other party to the case and they claim that Shell should be held liable for the spills caused by the vandalisation of pipelines primarily because Shell did not properly secure its pipelines.
The law firm Leigh Day is handling the case and the first hearing is slated for today to determine if the claimants can indeed institute proceedings against Shell.
A report by the United Nations Environmental Programme in 2011 suggested a clean up after it was discovered that the water in both communities were contaminated with oil by products. Despite the recommendation and subsequent agreement by Shell, there have been no efforts to clean up the area.
Leigh Day said in a statement, “It is scandalous that four years after the UNEP Report Shell is yet to clean up its oil in either Ogale or Bille. Our client’s patience has now run out and we intend to force Shell to act since it is clear they have no intention of doing so on their own.”