11,000 Nigerian villagers sue Shell over oil spills

Sunday March 25 2012


LAGOS, Sunday

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has been hit by a swarm of 11,000 villagers seeking compensation for oil spills which they said have polluted their waters and devastated farmlands.

The villagers from Bodo community, a network of 35 villages in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta are set to square off against the oil company in a London Courtroom on Friday with Martyn Day of law firm Leigh Day & Co. saying the spills devastated a once-thriving fishing community.

Last year the Nigerian unit of Royal Dutch-Shell took responsibility for the spill of about 4,000 barrels of crude oil in the Niger Delta, lawyers representing the Bodo community resorted to lawsuit after negotiations broke down last week.

According to Mr Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing Director of Shell (Nigerian Operation), “We did do everything possible to make sure that we pay compensation to the affected communities, but we also have to make sure that this compensation is paid to the right people; the trouble is you cannot do that as long as different lawyers are representing them.”

The British lawyer Martyn Day said he had visited Bodo on a number of occasions and each time he found the level of destruction incomprehensible.