Don't Miss

Oil spills: Shell resumes compensation talks with 15,000

By on September 10, 2013

Talks for multi-million dollars compensation will resume today between lawyers for Royal Dutch Shell and 15,000 villagers of Bodo communities, a part of Ogoniland, in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, in the Niger Delta.

Shell had accepted responsibility for over two oil spills in 2008 that polluted the waterways of the fishing communities, but insists the volume spilt and the number of those who lost their livelihoods as a result is exaggerated.

A Shell spokesman confirmed that talks would begin today in Port Harcourt, the River State capital, between Leigh Day and lawyers for the Anglo-Dutch firm, to be attended by representatives of the Bodo communities.

A Shell spokesman said the talks would focus on the number of people affected, the actual financial loss suffered, and the amount of time for which those affected should be compensated.

“They want to be fairly compensated for their losses from the time the spill took place until the oil is cleaned up and the Bodo Creek is returned to its natural state,” said Martyn Day of the Nigerians’ London law firm Leigh Day.

A previous round of compensation talks broke down in 2012, following which the villagers filed a suit against Shell at a London High Court in March 2012, seeking millions of dollars in compensation.

The legal action is being closely watched by the industry and by environmentalists for precedents that could have an impact on other big pollution claims against oil majors.

A vast maze of mangrove swamps and creeks, the Niger Delta is home to communities of subsistence farmers and fishermen living alongside the multi-billion-dollar oil industry.

The region has been plagued by a range of problems including sabotage, kidnappings of oil workers for ransom, theft of crude from pipelines, armed rebellions, and conflict between communities over clean-up contracts or compensation deals.


[Daily Independent]