The court responded to their request
The court responded to their request, Britain’s high court will on Tuesday hold a pre-trial hearing ahead of a court case due to be held next year brought by around 15,000 members of Nigeria’s Bodo community against oil giant Shell.
The people are demanded compensation from the British-Dutch company over two oil spills in 2008, having failed to reach a compensation deal last year.
London-based law firm Leigh Day, which represented Bodo residents in the talks and will do so in next year’s court case, called Shell’s initial offer “insulting.”
Sources familiar with the talks said Shell proposed a settlement of 7.5 billion naira ($46 million, 35 million euros). Lawyers for the villagers say the local environment was devastated by the two spills, depriving thousands of subsistence farmers and fishermen of their livelihoods.
Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day, said each individual would end up with around 275,000 naira (1,300 euros, $1,700) after subtracting a lump sum to be paid to the community. He claims most of the fishermen affected by the spills earn $5,000 to $8,400 per year.
“Our clients know how much their claims are worth and will not be bought off cheaply,” Day said in a statement.
In a statement before the hearing on Wednesday, Shell blamed sabotage and oil theft for the pollution. The company said it had halted production more than two decades ago in Ogoniland, the area where the two communities are located.
Shell said it would challenge the jurisdiction of the British court: “Asking the English court to intervene … is a direct challenge to the internal political acts and decisions of the Nigerian state.”
Human rights activists argue that such pollution levels would never be tolerated in the home countries of such multinationals. Ogoni protests in the 1990s were attacked by troops who turned the oil-producing south into a war zone. The writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders were executed by a military government in 1995.
At a hearing in the technology and construction court, Judge Raeside QC said legal proceedings against Royal Dutch Shell and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Nigeria: UK court deals a blow to oil spill victims and corporate accountability
Responding to a Court of Appeals judgement that two Niger Delta communities cannot have their case against oil giant Shell heard in the UK because the parent company cannot be held liable for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary, Joe Westby, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Business and Human Rights, said:
“With this ruling the court has struck a blow not only to the Ogale and Bille communities, who live everyday with the devastating consequences of Shell oil spills, but with victims of corporate human rights abuses all over the world. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent and will make it more difficult to hold UK companies to account.
“The idea that powerful multinationals are not responsible for the conduct of their subsidiaries overseas has allowed Shell to evade accountability for a raft of shocking human rights abuses spanning decades.