Claims by four Nigerian farmers over oil spills ruining their livelihoods by the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has been rejected.
The oil giant Shell has denied all claims by these farmers and refuses to pay any form of compensation for the damage of their land. Shell’s lawyers Jan de Bie Leuveling Tjeenk told the court it could not be held legally responsible given most spills were caused by criminal damage. He also attributed the situation as a form of sabotage by these groups of farmers given theft of oil was wide spread in the region. According to them repairs were difficult to effectuate in the area due to the insecurity in the Niger Delta.
The Nigerians lawyer Channa Samkalden, has earlier, told the court that Shell had failed to keep its pipelines, clean up leaks and prevent pollution. She said they could have stopped the leaks since Shell had known for a long time that the pipeline was damaged but they had chose not to do anything. A report says that if the case brought against shell by the farmers and the Dutch arm of environment group friends of the Earth is successful it could pave the way for thousands of other compensation claims.
It is the first time a Dutch multinational has been taken to a civil court in the Netherlands in connection with damage caused abroad. The case is associated to spills in caused in Goi, Ogoniland; Oruma in Bayelsa State and Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State. Shell says it has cleaned up pollution at the three locations in question and this has been certified by relevant Nigerian authorities.
Through the BBC one of the victims Friday Alfred Akpan from the village of Ikot Ada Udo, said the oil leaks in his village had badly damaged his 47 fish ponds. He further explains that the fishes died as a result of the oil spill, making it difficult for him to live and put his children through school. The victim wants compensation for the lost and for the giant oil shell to clean up the spill to avoid subsequent damage. The activity is the main activities of the victims without it they can’t get a better life for their family. The Judges are now considering the evidence and a ruling is expected early next year.