By Asmau Ahmad
Shell, an international energy company, has accepted to pay €15 million compensation to three Nigerian farmers and their villages in Niger Delta.
The farmers with the help of the Friends of the Earth, Netherlands, and two Nigerian lawyers, Chima Williams and Channa Samkalden, had in 2007 initiated legal proceedings in Hague, for oil pollution in Goi, Oruma and Ikot Ada Udo.
A Dutch Court in 2021 ordered the international company to pay the claimants a compensation over the oil spills that took place in the villages between 2004 and 2007.
Goi is in Rivers; Oruma, Bayelsa while Ikot Ada Udo is in Akwa Ibom of the Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
A statement on Friday in Benin by Mr Philip Jakpor, Media Head, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), described the historic victory at the courts and the acceptance of Shell to do the needful as a victory for all.
Jakpor said the company had also agreed to install a leak detection system to prevent future oil spills.
Chima Williams, a counsel in the case and the Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, said the resilience of the farmers and the communities was a model that would galvanise other impacted communities in the region and elsewhere.
“Justice may have been delayed but it has now been served. The resilience of the farmers, their communities and determination to make Shell pay is a model that will galvanise other impacted communities in the Niger Delta and elsewhere to act and stay on course.
“Shell’s acceptance to pay compensation and install leak detection system is both unprecedented and signals victory for all parties – the victims, environmental justice campaigners and Shell.
“Furthermore, if Shell can do this, it means that there is no hiding place for any corporate polluter as they may run, but cannot hide from the long arms of the law,” he said.
One of the plaintiffs in the case, Mr Eric Dooh, said the compensation would enhance a total transformation of the people as well as reinvestment in the community.
“The compensation we receive from the court case in the Netherlands will enhance a total transformation of the community people and myself in terms of reinvestment in our environment.
“It will be a relief for all of us when the money is finally paid as compensation for our losses after a long time of legal action against Shell,” said Dooh.