The Bodo community in the Ogoniland of River State, Nigeria, is undaunted in its cause to seek legal recourse for what it claims to be Shell’s failure to control 200 operational oil spills in 2008. The hearing of the case took place on Monday in a London Court.
The community is fighting for the court to force Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) to pay for cleaning of its area, and for the case to be closed only once it has been conclusively established that the oil giant has fully complied.
In the meantime, through its lawyers, Shell is fighting not only for its reputation, but also to have the cause struck off in October 2018. In its presentation, it argued that it had already committed to cleaning the area, and saw no reason for the continuation of the case.
According to This Day, a local daily, in 2015, Shell admitted that the two spills were caused by operational failure of pipelines and accepted liability for the spills. Then, the oil giant committed to paying 55 million pounds (about $83 million according to current exchange rate) to Bodo villagers and to clean up their lands and waterways.
Dan Leader, the community’s leading lawyer, the community fears that, once the case is struck, Shell might drag its feet, and even renege on its commitments.
Leader argued that the Shell had only resumed the cleaning exercise under legal duress.
“It’s only because of the pressure of litigation that the clean-up is getting back on track,” he observed.