…Insists firm must remediate polluted environment
A British judge ruled yesterday that Nigeria’s Bodo Community, in the oil-rich Niger Delta involved in a protracted legal battle with Shell over the clean-up of two 2008 oil spills, should retain the option of litigation for another year.
Lawyers for Bodo had accused Shell of trying to kill off the legal case by seeking a court order that would have meant the community had to meet onerous conditions before it could revive its litigation, which is currently on hold.
A London High Court judge, Mrs Justice Cockerill, ruled that the litigation should remain stayed until July 1, 2019, with no conditions attached should the Bodo Community’s representatives seek to re-activate it before then.
“We are delighted the court has rejected Shell’s attempt to restrict the community’s legal rights,” the Bodo Community’s lead UK lawyer, Dan Leader, said.
“The message is clear – Shell must clean up this appalling oil spill and the Bodo Community will keep on with its legal case until they are confident that it will do so,” he said.
The 2008 oil spills devastated the lands and waterways of Bodo, which is just one of numerous communities in the oil-producing Niger Delta that have suffered environmental harm and profound economic and social dysfunction linked to the industry.
In 2015, Shell accepted liability for the spills, agreeing to pay 55 million pounds ($83 million at the time) to Bodo villagers and to clean up their lands and creeks.