Four Nigerian farmers won a 13-year legal battle against Shell Oil. When a spill contaminated these farmers’ land, they had no choice but to demand compensation for their loss.
This legal battle 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.
On Friday, the Netherlands ruled in favor of the Nigerian farmers and rejected Shell Nigeria’s claim that oil spills in the area were the result of sabotage.
Finally, there is some justice for the Nigerian people suffering the consequences of Shell’s oil. 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.Eric Dooh, one of the complainants
The court realized that Shell Nigeria lacked any kind of leak detection system in the pipelines and wells in and around the Goi and Oruma communities and that state-of-the-art systems must be installed, or risk a €100,000 per day ($121,000 per day) fine.
The court also discovered a local cleanup operation that was insufficient, and it was ruled that the company must carry out more thorough cleaning of the oil from the farmland and the waters.