21 June 2014, Lagos – Royal Dutch Shell has offered $51million in compensation for two oil spills that occurred in Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State in 2008 after a London court yesterday rejected a larger claim; Reuters quoted sources involved in the case as saying.
Shell’s Corporate Media Relations Manager, Mr. Precious Okolobo said in a statement that the President of the Technological and Construction Court, Justice Akenhead, in his ruling yesterday accepted that the interpretation of Nigerian law by Shell was correct in all the crucial points argued before the court.
He also submitted that the judge also accepted that no compensation is payable for oil spilled as a result of illegal oil refining.
“The Judge further recognised the significant jurisdictional problems that arise when claims relating to Nigerian land are brought in England rather than in the Nigerian courts that have jurisdiction in relation to such land. These issues will need to be addressed during the main trial next year,” Okolobo added.
The Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu yesterday called on the affected community to direct their UK lawyers to stop wasting more time pursuing enormously exaggerated claims, saying the company wants to compensate fairly and quickly those who have been genuinely affected and also clean up all the affected areas.
Commenting on the preliminary ruling, Sunmonu acknowledged that from the outset, Shell had accepted responsibility for the two deeply regrettable operational spills in Bodo.
Around 11,000 or 15,000 residents of the Bodo community represented by a UK law firm, Leigh Day appealed in 2011 to a London court for more than 300 million pounds in compensation for the spilling of 500,000 barrels of oil.
The court delivered judgment on preliminary issues raised in the legal action brought against Shell.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Company has said it has no disagreements with the Niger Delta Development Company (NDDC) over a three percent levy as contribution for the development of the region.
“Truth is the NDDC itself has never complained, but a few individuals came to our premises in Bonny to complain. We showed a copy of the Court Order to the group that came, and they were satisfied. There is no disagreement between us and the NDDC.
The benefiting institutions are the University of Ilorin, University of Maiduguri, Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria, University of Nigeria-Nsukka, University of Port Harcourt and University of Ibadan.
“The board of the NLNG would decide if we would extend this to other universities…the universities were only asked to provide land; there was no counterpart funding required.