Bayelsa Community Drags Eni To Italian Court

Channels Television  
Updated May 10, 2017

Malabu Oil: Court Vacates Forfieture OrderThe Ikebiri community in Bayelsa state has dragged Eni, parent company of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to an Italian court over oil spill liabilities and pollution.

The community, a coastal settlement in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, is seeking cleanup and compensation for damages from an oil spill that affected their community in 2010.

In a statement issued in Yenagoa, Head of Legal Resources at the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Mr Chima Williams, noted that it is supporting the community in the legal action alongside Friends of the Earth, Europe.

RA/FoEN stated that Eni, which operates in Nigeria as NAOC is responsible for the spill caused by equipment failure.

It quoted its Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Ojo, as saying: “This is the first case of its kind against Italian oil giant Eni, after years of exploitation in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

“Negligence and nonchalance from ENI and its subsidiary, NAOC has left the Ikebiri community suffering from the impacts of oil pollution for seven years.

“The leak was plugged in 2010, and NAOC claims to have cleaned up the site. However, according to the community the leaked oil in the surrounding area was simply burnt, without their consent. To date, no adequate compensation has been offered, or cleanup completed,” Ojo said.

Also, the Monarch of Ikebiri community, Francis Temi Ododo said that residents of the Niger Delta have suffered the effects of oil spillage for too long and can no longer bear it.

“Our community cannot wait any longer. We have had ENI’s pollution for too long, damaging our fishing, our farming and our lives. We are now looking to the Italian courts for justice for our people.

“The communities of the Niger Delta have had to live for decades with the effects of continuous oil spills on our health, the welfare and their livelihoods.

“Thousands of oil spills have ravaged the communities across the Niger Delta to feed the profits of ENI, and other oil and gas companies,” the community leader said.

Meanwhile, Media Relations Officer at the Exploration, Upstream and Technical Activities unit of the Eni, Marilia Cioni confirmed the litigation in an emailed response.

“I will revert to you with Eni’s position on this matter shortly,” Cioni said.

This is coming less than 24 hours after the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, met in a closed door meeting over the Malabu Opl 245 scandal.

The meeting dwelt on issues relating to Agip’s investment on Zabazaba field which is part of the Opl 245.