News / Africa

Nigerians Seek $1 Billion in Compensation From Shell

Fishermen sort out their fishing net at the bank of a polluted river in Bidere community in Ogoniland in Nigeria's delta region, August 20, 2011.
Fishermen sort out their fishing net at the bank of a polluted river in Bidere community in Ogoniland in Nigeria's delta region, August 20, 2011.

Nigerians in the oil-rich Niger Delta are asking a U.S. court to grant them $1 billion in compensation from Shell for damages from oil spills.

The suit - on behalf of people from the Ogale community in Rivers State - asks a court in the U.S. state of Michigan to award damages against Shell Oil Company for decades of pollution caused by oil spills.

Ogale Chief Godwin Okpabi says the $1 billion claim is tiny compared to the profits the Anglo-Dutch firm makes in the Niger Delta.

"In Detroit, Michigan, we are asking for compensation, which is the oil you have taken and you've made billions and billions. But since you have caused injuries to us, you have given us some permanent damage, you caused a discomfort to us, pay us money. And we are asking for peanuts, one billion U.S. dollars," he said.

Water pollution

A United Nations environment report in August said it could take 30 years to clean up oil spills in the Niger Delta, where the World Health Organization says contamination by carcinogens in some drinking water is 900 times safe limits.

"What is left if you have been drinking water that is contaminated at 900 percent level and your people are dying? You have cancer in your body. What are you living for? We will all lie down on the road and stop them from coming to take oil from here," said Okpabi.

The government is supplying fresh water to Ogale because most of its local sources are polluted. Area youth leader David Awaka says there are large signs throughout the community warning people not to drink contaminated water.

"The directive from the Ministry of Water Resources in River State is that we should educate our people, tell them to stay away from the water. Because the water is acidic and we are doing that," Awaka said.

Sabotage, theft


Shell says most of the oil spills in the Niger Delta are caused by sabotage and theft. Whatever the reason, the firm says it has a system in place to clean up spills as quickly as possible.

The long-running environmental degradation of the Niger Delta sparked attacks on oil facilities by armed militants, who have since reached an amnesty deal with the federal government.

It also led to a civil disobedience campaign by author Ken Saro-Wiwa who was hanged by a military tribunal in 1995 under the rule of General Sani Abacha. That execution resulted in Nigeria being suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations for more than three years.

The $1 billion claim against Shell is being brought under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute of 1789, which holds companies in the United States liable for breaching international law. It is the same statute under which the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a separate case by families in the Niger Delta alleging that Shell was complicit in human rights abuses during General Abacha's military rule.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid