After over a decade of litigation, expectation and anticipation, the Appeal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands has ruled in favour of a couple of Niger Delta communities.
The International Court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to pay commensurate compensation to two oil-polluted communities in the Niger-Delta and the victims.
The case between Shell and the communities explained.
In 2004 and 2008, there were two separate oil spills from a Shell facility. The extent of damage these spills caused was great, leading to the pollution of miles of fishing waters in many fishing communities in the Niger Delta area.
Four fishermen from the affected villages: Ikot Ada Udo, in Akwa Ibom state; Goi in Rivers state, and Oruma in Bayelsa State took it upon themselves to sue the company in the Hague, Netherlands.
The case: Four fishermen/farmers and Milieudefensie vs. Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, re-lief sought included a declaration of Shell liability to the spills and destruction of fishponds being the source of income for the litigants.
The international court, on Friday, issued an order to the company to be sure to clean up the polluted communities and also restore the livelihoods of those who were affected.
However, the court seemed to go silent on the case of Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State. This seeming silence, they attributed to “unclarity of the facts”.
This judgement comes after 13 years of painstaking and rigorous litigation.
These communities had previously tried to get justice against the oil company in Nigerian Courts, but those efforts yielded no results. This led them to head to the Netherlands.
Apart from judgement for clean up and compensation for loss of fishing ponds, income and livelihoods, they also demanded preventive measures to stop oil spills from Shell’s aged pipelines that could potentially destroy their fishing ponds and farmlands in the future.
Chima Williams, the Acting Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action, advised Shell to obey the order of the Court, pay the compensation it has to pay to the affected communities and proceed to put a stop to all litigations regarding the matter.
Williams also said the Hague will calculate the compensation claims payable by Royal Dutch Shell to the affected victims.