LONDON APPEAL COURT RULES AGAINST TWO RIVERS COMMUNITIES IN THEIR POLLUTION CASE WITH SHELL




In 2016, two Rivers State communities, Bille in Degema Local Government Area and Ogale in Eleme Local Government Area filed a suit against Shell in a London court over the destruction of their environment through oil exploration, by its subsidiary – Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) operating in Nigeria. Shell, in its arguments, challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter. In 2017, the court ruled in favour of Shell’s argument, but the claimants were not deterred, they took their case to the appeal court in London.


Yesterday, the appeal court, in its ruling, upheld the decision of the high court, that English courts do not have the authority to hear or rule on matters involving Shell’s subsidiaries’ actions abroad. The paramount ruler of Ogale community, Chief Bebe Okpabi and Leigh Day – the law firm representing the communities, said they will take the case to the supreme court. They are hoping that the apex court will reach a different decision.


The communities said they filed the case in a London court because they were not confident that the Nigerian Judicial system will grant them a fair hearing.


One of the three senior High Court judges in London had disagreed with the court’s decision. He wrote that the communities have a legitimate claim, that Shell is significantly responsible for the facilities and activities of its subsidiaries. SPDC had earlier denied that the company was responsible for the pollution. It claimed that deliberate sabotage and illegal refineries in the communities are responsible for the pollution.


Meanwhile, the Eleme General Assembly through its President, Isreal Gomba Abe has advised Ogale community to file the matter in a Nigerian court. He said the case can still be fairly heard locally.


Credit: Touchph.com

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