netherlands and nigeria: taking shell to court for flaring and spilling
FoE Nigeria / Environmental Rights Action is using legal channels to force oil companies in Nigeria to clean up their operations. Litigation to stop gas flaring is being pursued through the Nigerian courts, and FoE Nigeria has been closely involved in developing a legal case on gas flaring.
At the same time, Shell, the leading corporation in the Nigerian oil and gas business, is being called to account in the Dutch courts for damage caused by its oil spills in Nigeria. FoE Nigeria and FoE Netherlands / Milieudefensie are supporting four Nigerian fishermen and farmers who filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Shell’s headquarters in the Netherlands in November 2008.
For the first time in history, Shell’s international headquarters will have to appear in court to respond to charges of causing environmental damage abroad. The Nigerian plaintiffs, fishermen and farmers from the oil-rich Niger Delta area, suffered from the effects of oil spills related to Shell oil operations.
On November 7, Dutch lawyers served a summons on Shell, accusing it of negligence. New investigation shows that the villages of the Nigerian plaintiffs have been heavily polluted and that Shell has not adhered to international standards for 'good oil field practice' in Nigeria.
Anne van Schaik, campaign leader of FoE Netherlands said: “Here Shell would never treat people and the environment in the way it does in Nigeria. We hope that the Dutch judge will decide that Shell must clean up the pollution and that the victims must be compensated properly.”
Nnimmo Bassey, director of FoE Nigeria said: “Shell hardly notices Nigerian court orders. We want a Dutch court to ensure that justice is done against Royal Dutch Shell.”
As of June 2009, the case is still being tried in the Dutch court system.