News / Africa

Nigerian Villagers Reject Shell Compensation Offer

Atlantic shoreline at Orobiri village days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, Nigeria's delta state, Dec. 31, 2011.
Atlantic shoreline at Orobiri village days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, Nigeria's delta state, Dec. 31, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Nigerian villagers on Friday rejected an offer of compensation from Royal Dutch Shell for damage done to their livelihoods by oil spills from pipelines operated by the company, their lawyers said.
 
Failure to reach a settlement means the Anglo-Dutch oil major and around 15,000 members of the Bodo fishing communities in southeastern Nigeria remain locked in litigation.
 
Their lawyers said they will now go back to a British court to request a trial timetable.
 
The legal action is being closely watched by the oil industry and by environmentalists for precedents that could have an impact on other big pollution claims against majors.
 
"We haven't reached agreement on compensation, which is disappointing," a spokesman for Shell's Nigeria unit said.
 
"Nonetheless, we're pleased to have made progress in relation to cleanup," he added, saying measures had been put in place to get remediation work done as soon as possible.
 
A source close to Shell and another source involved in the negotiations told Reuters the company offered total compensation of 7.5 billion naira ($46.3 million).
 
Leigh Day, the British law firm representing the villagers, said the compensation offer amounted to approximately 1,100 pounds ($1,700) per individual impacted, without giving the number of people it says were affected.
 
"The whole week has been deeply disappointing," said Martyn Day of the London-based law firm, who has been in talks with Shell since Monday in Nigeria's oil hub Port Harcourt.
 
"The settlement figures are totally derisory and insulting to these villagers," he added.
 
The Nigerians launched a suit against Shell at the High Court in London in March 2012, seeking millions of dollars in compensation for two oil spills in 2008, but both sides agreed to try and settle in compensation talks in Port Harcourt.
 
Shell accepts responsibility for the Bodo spills but the two sides disagree about the volume spilt and the number of local people who lost their livelihoods as a result.
 
Citing independent experts, Leigh Day says up to 600,000 barrels of crude were spilt, which would make it one of the worst in history. The volume spilt in Alaska in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster was put at 257,000 barrels.
 
But Shell, citing a report by a joint investigative team not controlled by the firm, puts the volume spilt in the two original incidents at just 4,100 barrels.
 
Shell accepts that a significantly higher volume of oil was spilt later but says this was due to other factors including sabotage. It has complained that its clean-up teams were at times denied access to sites by local groups.
 
The Niger Delta has for years been plagued by a range of problems including environmental degradation, kidnappings, theft of crude from pipelines, armed rebellions, and conflict between communities over clean-up contracts or compensation deals.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid