Shell pays £55 million out of court settlement to Nigerian Bodo community over oil spills

Bodo Oil spill Credit: CEHRD

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Article
14 January 2015

Nigeria: Mixed reactions to Shell’s settlement with Bodo community over oil spills

Author: Legalbrief (So. Africa)

"Mixed reaction to Shell's oil-spill settlement", 13 Jan 2015

Legalbrief reports that the out-of-court settlement follows a significant legal battle during which residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta had demanded restitution for loss of livelihood caused when a broken pipeline spilled tens of thousands of barrels of oil into the creeks and forests contaminating the environment…While the payout is a long-awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn't have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation…[A] report on the allAfrica.com site notes that the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Homef) said the oil giant's agreement for settlement is an admittance of years of 'ecological crime' in the Niger Delta community. 'When compared to what polluting oil companies pay elsewhere for their ecological crimes, Homef sees the compensation as inadequate for the severity of damage done,'…

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Article
12 January 2015

In the wake of Shell's out of court settlement, Amnesty International official calls for more opportunities for communities to access judicial remedies

Author: Peter Frankental, in Institute for Human Rights & Business

"Settlement Involving Niger Delta Fishermen Leaves Shell More Exposed Than Ever"

Last week’s announcement of an outcome of the court case taken by the Bodo fishermen may have more effect in galvanising Shell into action. It will certainly increase scrutiny of the company...While Shell will do everything it can to close the book on the negligence and misinformation accompanying the Bodo spill, the pressure on the company to be transparent with the facts and to clean up its contamination across all of the Niger Delta will intensify as other affected communities, encouraged by the outcome of the Bodo case, may also consider legal action. This case has created a landmark in so far as it has undermined some of the key pillars of Shell’s attempts to defend itself from culpability for oil spills in the Delta...While the compensation awarded is important to the affected communities, the wider ramifications of the Bodo case are much more significant in moving us closer to the truth and helping to bring about greater accountability in future for Shell’s actions and those of other companies operating in similar contexts. This is why Amnesty International puts such a strong emphasis on access to judicial remedy for victims of corporate abuses. We want to see many more opportunities for affected communities, such as the Bodo fishermen, to have their day in court.

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Item
12 January 2015

Shell & the Bodo community – settlement vs. litigation

Author: Elodie Aba, Legal Researcher, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

On 7 January 2015…Shell had agreed to an out of court settlement of £55 million with the Bodo community affected by oil spills in Nigeria.  This agreement brings to an end a six year journey seeking justice for these residents of the Niger Delta. It is a ground-breaking settlement – despite so much damage, no multinational oil company has ever directly compensated individuals harmed in the Niger Delta for the destruction of the environment on which so much of their livelihoods depends…Shell’s settlement with the Bodo community means the Nigerian victims will receive compensation without needing to endure a potentially lengthy legal process…However…[a] trial…could have potentially set an important legal precedent and clarified the position of English courts for future corporate human rights lawsuits. But…a trial involves an uncertain outcome, and the legal process could be made even longer with subsequent appeals…The hope must be that this settlement sends a message to so many other companies embroiled in long legal cases around extensive environmental damage to communities.

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Article
9 January 2015

Shell and the liability debate

Author: Sudeep Chakravarti, Livemint

The new year has provided an object lesson in…corporate responsibility. It has global implications for businesses. That makes it local for India, currently in the throes of a policy makeover that firmly places government on the side of business…While businesses here continually push the boundaries of what they can get away with…, globalization of activism and judicial process is increasingly ensuring that businesses get away with less…[O]n 7 January, Royal Dutch Shell Plc. agreed to pay £55 million…in an out-of-court settlement to a community of fishermen in Nigeria… From the liability and risk-planning perspective, some feel the settlement…has not exactly closed the book, merely one chapter. FT quotes the concern of [the] executive director of Stakeholder Democracy Network, as to the likelihood of continuing scrutiny of Shell: “If I was a shareholder, I would be factoring in future liabilities.”

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Author: Deutsche Welle, Katrin Matthaei

Der Shell-Konzern zahlt umgerechnet 70 Millionen Euro Schadenersatz für zwei Ölkatastrophen in Nigeria. Darauf verständigte sich das nigerianische Tochterunternehmen des Konzerns mit der betroffenen Kommune Bodo im Nigerdelta. Es ist der bislang höchste außergerichtliche Vergleich, der wegen einer Ölpest in Nigeria je ausgehandelt wurde.Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Amnesty International hatte die betroffenen Nigerianer - vor allem Fischer und Bauern - bei einer Klage gegen Shell vor einem britischen Gericht unterstützt. Es war das erste Mal, dass Shell sich in einem Verfahren vor einem britischen Gericht für seine Rolle bei der Verschmutzung des Niger-Deltas verantworten musste. Bei den Verhandlungen zum außergerichtlichen Vergleich hatte der Öl-Multi zunächst umgerechnet 38 Millionen Euro angeboten, die Geschädigten forderten mindestens das Zehnfache...Der britisch-niederländische Ölkonzern Shell steht seit Jahren in der Kritik, wesentliche Verantwortung für die Verschmutzung im Niger-Delta zu tragen...

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Article
7 January 2015

Long-awaited victory as Shell finally pays out £55 million over Niger Delta oil spills

Author: Amnesty International

“While the pay-out is a long awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn’t have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International. 

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Article
7 January 2015

Nigeria: Shell agrees to compensate communities affected by two oil spills

Author: William Wallis, Financial Times

"Royal Dutch Shell agrees $83M Nigeria oil spill settlement"

Royal Dutch Shell is to pay tens of millions of pounds in compensation to 15,000 Nigerian fishermen affected by two huge oil spills. The out of court deal, believed to be the biggest of its kind, ends a three year legal battle. The Anglo-Dutch oil company has agreed payouts averaging £2,000 each to the fishermen in the Bodo region of the Niger delta, as part of a compensation package worth £55 million ($83 million) for what it called two "highly regrettable" spills in 2008...The deal settles a lawsuit brought against Shell in London over leaks in the Bomu-Bonny pipeline that caused environmental damage to rural coastal settlements of 49,000 people living in 35 villages, many of whom are subsistence farmers and fishermen...Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director of SPDC, said it was "pleased" to have reached agreement and clean-up work would begin soon. Human rights group Amnesty International called the settlement "an important victory for the victims of corporate negligence".

 

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Author: France 24

« Des pêcheurs nigérians obtiennent gain de cause face au géant pétrolier Shell », 7 janvier 2015

Le groupe pétrolier Shell s'est engagé à verser 70 millions d'euros pour indemniser les 15 600 pêcheurs nigérians touchés par deux importantes fuites de pétrole en 2008. Cet accord met fin à trois années de bataille juridique…La filiale au Nigeria du géant néerlando-britannique, SPDC, a accepté de verser 35 millions de livres aux plaignants, des pêcheurs de la communauté de Bodo, au sud du Nigeria, et 20 millions de livres à la municipalité…Chacun des 15 600 pêcheurs, qui réclamaient une compensation pour les pertes subies par deux fuites dans le pipeline du groupe dans le delta du Niger, recevra 2 200 livres, soit l'équivalent d'environ trois années de salaire minimum au Nigeria…Indépendamment de l'accord annoncé mercredi, SPDC s'est engagé à nettoyer la zone polluée par les fuites de 2008. Ce nettoyage devrait commencer dans deux ou trois mois…

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Article
7 January 2015

Nigeria: Shell's N15 Billion Settlement to Ogoni Community "Inadequate"

Author: Ben Ezeamalu, Premium Times (Nigeria)

…Shell's agreement to pay £55 million…to…fishermen in…Ogoniland is not commensurate with the disaster…on the area…[t]he Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, said…"When compared to what polluting oil companies pay elsewhere for their ecological crimes, HOMEF sees the compensation…as inadequate for the severity of damage done"…Shell's Managing Director said…"We've always wanted to compensate the community fairly and we are pleased to have reached agreement…" Shell also said it would begin clean up of the sites immediately. HOMEF, however, welcomed Shell's agreement to pay the penalty noting that it was a confirmation of their guilt…"Since the oil companies do not respect fines imposed on them by Nigerian regulatory agencies…this decision should encourage other communities to bring up cases against Shell and other oil companies operating in the Nigeria…and other countries," said…a member of the international Advisory Board of HOMEF…"A safe environment is a foundational basis for human survival," the group said...

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Article
7 January 2015

Shell agrees £55m compensation deal for Niger Delta community

Author: Leigh Day

Oil-giant Shell have agreed a compensation package of £55m to compensate 15,600 Nigerian fishermen and their community after it was devastated by two massive oil spills in the Niger Delta in 2008 and 2009. Today’s announcement follows a three-year legal battle by the Nigerian’s lawyers, London based law firm Leigh Day, in the High Court in London following the spills which devastated the environment surrounding the community of Bodo, in Gokana Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria. Each member of the community impacted by the oil spill will each receive approximately 600,000 Nigerian Naira (£2,200)...The total cost of the compensation package agreed with Shell is £55m being split £35m for the individuals and £20m for the community and is thought to be one of the largest payouts to an entire community following environmental damage....In the aftermath of the spills Shell originally offered £4,000 (four thousand pounds GBP) compensation to the entire Bodo community before the villagers sought legal representation from lawyers in London, where Shell have their headquarters...The lawyer representing the claimants, Martyn Day from Leigh Day, said: ...“Whilst we are delighted for our clients, and pleased that Shell has done the decent thing I have to say that it is deeply disappointing that Shell took six years to take this case seriously and to recognise the true extent of the damage these spills caused to the environment and to the those who rely on it for their livelihood...."...Chief Sylvester Kogbara, Chairman of the Bodo Council of Chiefs and Elders, said: “For now, the Bodo community is very happy that this case has been finally laid to rest. The hope is that this will forge a good relationship with Shell for the future, not only with the Bodo people but with all the Niger Delta communities that have been impacted in the same way as us.

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