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11 Nov 2015

Nigeria: Bodo community claim Shell has yet to begin oil spill clean-up following settlement

“How a poor Nigerian town got Shell to pay for major oil spills”, 6 Nov 2015

…The waters of Bodo Creek and the surrounding delta were once strewn with fishing boats…But in 2008 a Royal Dutch Shell pipeline burst beneath the surface and gushed thousands of barrels of oil into the surrounding river…20 years after the first large protests over oil pollution…a court victory has given new hope that redress is possible…In January…Shell admitted responsibility for the Bodo spills…and settled a landmark lawsuit with the community.  The company agreed to pay $110 million in compensation…and pledged to clean up Bodo Creek.  The case, thought to be the largest settlement of its kind in Africa, has implications for the oil industry…It set the precedent that individual citizens can claim damages and be compensated directly for oil pollution to their land.  And it confirmed that the legal battle could be fought where the parent company is located…rather than in Nigeria, “where there is no hope of any justice”...“Parent companies have a due diligence requirement to make sure that their subsidiaries are not trampling people’s human rights overseas”…The oil company’s promised cleanup of Bodo Creek hasn’t been started...[I]f Shell doesn’t make meaningful progress by the new year, the company [will be dragged] back to court…