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Nigeria: In historic Dutch court ruling, Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth win oil pollution case against Shell

"Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth win oil pollution case against Shell in historic ruling", 29 January 2021

The Court of Appeal in The Hague has ruled in favour of Milieudefensie / Friends of the Earth Netherlands and four Nigerians on most points in an oil pollution case that was first brought against Shell in 2008.

Justice for victims of Shell pollution

Shell Nigeria in particular is liable for oil pollution at three locations in the Niger Delta, but according to the court, the parent company Royal Dutch Shell also violated its duty of care. Three of the four Nigerian plaintiffs and their fellow villagers must now be compensated for the damage caused and Shell must ensure that there is a leakage detection system in the pipelines in Nigeria. It is the first time that a court has held Dutch transnational corporation accountable for its duty of care abroad. 

... Eric Dooh from Goi, one of the four Nigerian plaintiffs said: 

“Finally, there is some justice for the Nigerian people suffering the consequences of Shell’s oil. It is a bittersweet victory, since two of the plaintiffs, including my father, did not live to see the end of this trial. But this verdict brings hope for the future of the people in the Niger Delta.”

... Channa Samkalden, the lawyer for the Nigerian farmers and Milieudefensie said: 

“After years of litigation there is finally justice for many of my clients, only the case in Ikot Ada Udo is still ongoing. Not only is Shell liable for the oil spill and my clients will get what they are entitled to, this case also shows that European companies must behave responsibly abroad.”

... The Nigeria case has lasted almost 13 years, which shows how difficult it is for victims of harm by the business activities of transnational corporations to obtain justice, says Friends of the Earth Netherlands....

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