After a 13-year legal battle, a small group of Nigerian farmers won their pollution case against Shell Oil.
These four farmers, along with Friends of the Earth Netherlands, took Shell to court after the oil giant contaminated their lands with years of oil spills.
#Shell has today been defeated in court by Nigerian farmers.— Friends of the Earth Europe🌍 #BlackLivesMatter (@foeeurope) January 29, 2021
This is a hopeful day for all victims of oil companies’ pollution and human rights abuses.
But no victim should have to wait 13 years for justice#StopShell #HoldBizAccountablehttps://t.co/1Aa8ouJw6f
According to the Good News Network, the David vs Goliath story went all the way from the rural Niger Delta to The Hague Court of Appeal, resulting in the farmers being compensated, with further mandates for both safety and cleanup being pressed upon parent company Royal Dutch Shell.
“Victims of environmental pollution, land grabbing, or exploitation now have a better chance to win a legal battle against the companies involved,” said Donald Pols of @milieudefensie @FoEint @nnimmob https://t.co/TTlgiK4wyL— Common Dreams (@commondreams) January 29, 2021
“Finally, there is some justice for the Nigerian people suffering the consequences of Shell’s oil. But it is a bittersweet victory since two of the plaintiffs, including my father, did not live to see the end of this trial. It is a long time victory that we have been dreaming of. It is not only a victory for me, it is a victory for the entire Niger Delta region, the Ogoni people, the civil society organizations. It is a victory for me and my family. It is a victory for humanity,” says one of the farmers, Chief Barizaa Dooh’s son Eric Dooh.
Since 1976, over two million barrels of oil have polluted Ogoniland in thousands of oil spills. Pipelines operated by Shell still traverse the land, creeks and waterways and leakages mean that the area is still plagued by oil spills today. Yet in the face of such destruction, local communities and international solidarity campaigns have stood up for justice and exposed Shell’s violations to the world for decades. Peoples impacted by oil pollution in Nigeria have traveled to neighboring African countries to warn them first hand of the impacts of oil extraction as part of a global movement to ‘leave the oil in the soil’ and protect our climate, reports Friends of the Earth International.
Shell, for its part, said it was “disappointed” in the ruling and blamed “sabotage” for the oil spills in question, writes Andrea Germanos at Common Dreams.