Supreme court rules that Nigerians can sue shell over oil spills


The Supreme Court has ruled that a group of 42,500 Nigerian farmers and fishermen can sue Shell for multiple oil spills in the Niger Delta.

Judges found that the organization did have a common law duty of care for the activities of its Nigeria-based auxiliary.

The local Ogale and Bille people claimed their lives and wellbeing have endured in light of the fact that repeated oil spills have polluted their territory and streams.

They additionally contended that there has been no satisfactory cleaning or remediation.

Represented by law office Leigh Day, they contended that Shell owed them an obligation of care since it both had huge control of, and was liable for its auxiliary SPDC.

Shell owns 30% of the firm, which it runs as a joint enterprise with the Nigerian state oil organization, France’s Total, and Italian firm Eni.

However, Shell countered that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claims.

“[This ruling] also represents a watershed moment in the accountability of multinational companies”, said Daniel Leader, partner at Leigh Day.

“Increasingly impoverished communities are seeking to hold powerful corporate actors to account and this judgment will significantly increase their ability to do so”.

It is the second time in a matter of weeks that a court has found against Shell, after a Dutch court ruled that it must pay damages to four Nigerian farmers for oil spills back in 2008.

The Anglo-Dutch giant’s inland operations in Nigeria have been liable to sabotage for years.

Yesterday at a strategy conference, Shell Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden said that Shell was considering pulling out of its inland activities in the country.




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