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.
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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More