By Sophie van Leeuwen
A Dutch court ruled that it had the authority to handle a case brought against a unit of Royal Dutch Shell for alleged negligence related to oil spills in Nigeria.
Shell Nigeria has to appear before a Dutch judge to account for the contamination of agricultural land in Nigeria, according the district court in The Hague. The four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, or Milieudefensie, who instituted the proceedings, say they are pleased with the decision.
A spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Geert Ritsema, said, “For years these people have tried to get Shell to clean its rubbish and stop polluting their habitat. But they were repeatedly left empty handed, which caused them to seek justice in the Netherlands. The judge’s decision is the first victory for all Nigerians who for years have been fighting for justice and a cleaner habitat.”
The Nigerian farmers say they lost their income after crude oil from a Shell pipeline poured over their fields. Fishermen also lost money when the leak contaminated their fishponds.
Residents of the villages of Oruma, Goi and Ikot Ada Udo, in the oil-rich Niger delta, are demanding compensation from the Anglo-Dutch multinational. They also want Shell to clean the polluted soil in the area. Continue reading