Nigeria: Threats of litigation mount against Shell over the recent oil spill in Gokana

Author: Daniel Abia, Independent (Nigeria), Published on: 15 April 2019

“Shell To Face Litigation Over Fresh Spill In Ogoni” 

The fragile peace in the Niger Delta region may be broken following threats of litigation against Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, over the recent spill that occurred at Bodo City in Gokana local government area of Rivers state. The spill is said to have occurred from a leakage from the trans-Niger Delta pipeline operated by the oil giant on February 18, 2019. The Ogoni people, who are still angry over federal government’s dithering over the cleanup exercise, are equally annoyed over the divide-and-rule tactics, allegedly being employed by the oil giant to frustrate the planned court action. Efforts to get Shell’s reaction met brick walls as several phone calls and a text message were not responded to.

Already, tension is currently building up in the ancient city following the unconventional ways adopted by Shell to calm fledging nerves. The spill-affected community has been factionalised over a certain amount of money allegedly paid by Shell to frustrate every move for legal action against the company. One of the community leaders who stood his grounds that the oil giant  must be prosecuted for the latest spill has since been arrested and detained after a joint investigation visit, JIV, to verify the authenticity of the spill. This has therefore sparked up an atmosphere of uncertainty as to what may happen next in the community within the coming days. Sources said the Royal Dutch Company has already coughed out millions of naira to some influential persons to sooth the nerves of other angry community leaders not to embark on litigation over the recent pollution of the Ogoni environment.

…The European coordinator of MOSOP made it clear that there is no genuine program to cleanup Ogoni both by Shell and the Nigerian government. He recalled that during a stakeholders meeting with Shell in June, 2014 which held in Geneva, Shell made it clear that “it was not ready to pay any money for cleanup of Ogoni. HYPREP has no presence in Ogoni. It is a system set up to deceive the world”. With Ogoni currently being militarised, the Ogoni activist said the last resort is to undertake litigation against Shell. “We will take Shell to court. The court can be anywhere. That is the last resort. Government will not listen to us. We will not allow any oil company to enter Ogoni…

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Related companies: Royal Dutch Shell (Shell)