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UK lawyers representing 11,000 Nigerians recommence legal action against Shell over oil spill after settlement negotiations break down

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23 March 2012

[audio] Today programme [interview with Martyn Day & Mutiu Sunmonu re Nigeria oil spill litigation, starts on min. 52.20]

Author: BBC, Today Programme

[Transcript]:…Solicitors representing people from the Bodo community in Nigeria are claiming compensation from Shell over oil spills which they say have had a terrible effect on their lives…Martyn Day [solicitor representing the plaintiffs]: “...[O]ver 2008 this was a thriving fishing community of about 50,000 people…Two oil spills...which Shell recognized was their responsibility…which…devastated that community…as a result…people’s livelihoods have gone…[A]fter sitting around a table with Shell for 4 years…we have not been able to reach a resolution…Shell refused to acknowledge...the scale of what happened…”...Mutiu Sunmonu [managing director of Shell in Nigeria]:”…Shell has admitted that the two spills that happened in 2008 were as a result of operation error and we did everything that was possible to make sure we pay compensation to the affected communities…However, due to all sort of issues…this compensation has actually been delayed…We need to make sure that the compensation is paid to the right people.”

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22 March 2012

Clean-up teams barred from Niger delta oil spill sites

Author: Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in Financial Times

Your story “Pipeline leaks mar delta village”...like so much reporting on oil spills in Nigeria, fails properly to convey the highly complex situation in the Niger delta...In the case of Bodo, it is deeply regrettable that both before and since those two operational spills occurred, much more oil has been spilt as a result of illegal activity...Our clean-up teams were able to deal with the initial operational spills, but subsequently they have been prevented by local communities from reaching sites that were reimpacted by this illegal activity to begin clean-up and remediation work. This could be because those communities hold a misguided belief that more spilt oil, irrespective of the cause, equals more compensation...[I]t is the legal process...and the cynical games played by lawyers in both countries, that has prevented the swift payment of compensation in this case, and has certainly delayed clean-up operations

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22 March 2012

Shell faces claim over Niger delta spills

Author: Jane Croft, Financial Times

Lawyers representing 11,000 Nigerians will on Friday serve the details of a claim against Royal Dutch Shell at the High Court after negotiations about compensation for two oil spills in the Niger delta fell apart last week. The lawsuit against Shell relates to two oil spills in 2008, which caused damage to the Bodo community, a rural coastal settlement that consists of 49,000 people who live in 35 villages and are subsistence farmers and fishermen...negotiations broke down last week and Leigh Day has now recommenced its legal action and will on Friday serve its particulars of claim.

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