Senate Probes Shell Over Joint Venture Breach, Seeks $200m Refund To FG

A file photo of the Senate chambers.

 

The Senate has constituted an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over non-compliance with the Petroleum Act and breach of the Joint Venture Agreement entered into with the Federal Government.

The Ad-Hoc committee has been mandated to probe the Oil Mining Lease granted to SPDC between 1959 to 1989, and 1989 to 2019 under the SPDC/NNPC Joint Venture agreement.

Read Also: Senator Onyewuchi Defects To Labour Party As Bauchi Lawmaker Quits APC

Accordingly, the Upper chamber is demanding a refund of $200 million to the federal government of what was paid by SPDC, including penalties and interests under the said lease agreements.

The Upper Chamber agreed on these resolutions on Thursday after it considered a motion sponsored by Senator George Sekibo.

Senator Sekibo, in his motion says that the SPDC/NNPC Joint Venture (JV) agreement, in contravention of the provisions of the Petroleum Act 1969, by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, granted to the SPDC/NNPC a 30-year Oil Mining Lease from 1959 to 1989.

He observed that doing so constitutes an illegal extension of the oil mining Lease by 10 years in the first instance, instead of the prescribed term of 20 year and led to the Federal government losing revenue from fees, taxes, rents and royalties.

Dutch Court Rejects Ogoni Widows’ Case Against Shell

A combination of file photos of a gavel and a logo of Shell Petroleum Company.

 

 

A Dutch court on Wednesday rejected a case brought by four Nigerian widows against oil giant Shell over their husbands’ execution by the military regime that ruled the nation in the 1990s.

They accused Shell of involvement in the arrest, detention, prosecution and eventual execution of their husbands, who opposed the group’s exploitation of oil resources in Ogoni, Rivers state.

The widows’ complaint alleged that Shell had been involved in corrupting witnesses in the trial of the so-called Ogoni 9, who in November 1995 were convicted by a military tribunal for involvement in the murder of four Ogoni leaders.

But the Dutch court ruled that their position was based on interpretation and supposition and that they had no evidence to back their accusations.

Witnesses had testified to the court that they had signed preprepared statements and had been coached to incriminate the defendants, in return for the promise of payments and jobs. They said they had been told that the money they received came from Shell.

But “the statements are largely based on assumptions and interpretations of the witnesses and are not specific enough to be able to conclude that the money they have stated actually came from (Shell)”, said a court statement.

Whatever abuses had taken place during the trial, there was no evidence that Shell had any knowledge of or role in what had happened, the court concluded.

Esther Kiobel, the widow of the Barinem Kiobel, brought the action with the support of Amnesty International. Her husband was executed on November 10, 1995 along with eight other activists.

Among them was the Nigerian writer and campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa, who led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

All the defendants insisted they were innocent of the charges against them and rights organisations including Amnesty have argued that their trial was a sham.

Shell To Sell Stakes In Russia’s Gazprom Joint Ventures

In an aerial view, gas prices nearing $6.00 a gallon are displayed at a Shell gas station on February 23, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP
In an aerial view, gas prices nearing $6.00 a gallon are displayed at a Shell gas station on February 23, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

 

Oil giant Shell on Monday said that it planned to sell its stake in all joint ventures with Gazprom after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement came after UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said more than three million Russian companies, including Gazprom, would be unable to access funding from London-based financial institutions because of new sanctions.

That will mean they will “no longer be able to issue debt or equity in London”, she told parliament.

READ ALSO: Russia Market Crash Show ‘Our Sanctions Are Working’ – Scholz

European football’s governing body UEFA also ended its estimated 40-million-euro sponsorship deal with Gazprom and this season’s Champions League final was moved from the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Shell said it would sell its 27.5-percent stake in the oil and gas project Sakhalin-2, on Sakhalhin island, in Russia’s far east.

It would also end its 50-percent interests in the Salym oilfield development in western Siberia, and the Gydan exploration project in the Gydan peninsula, in northwest Siberia.

Shell is one of five energy companies that has committed financing for up to 10 percent of the estimated 9.5 billion total cost of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.

But the company said it also “intends to end its involvement” with the project, after Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week announced its suspension.

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security.

“Our decision to exit is one we take with conviction. We cannot — and we will not — stand by,” he added.

“Our immediate focus is the safety of our people in Ukraine and supporting our people in Russia.

“In discussion with governments around the world we will also work through the detailed business implications, including the importance of secure energy supplies to Europe and other markets, in compliance with relevant sanctions.”

On Sunday, BP announced it was pulling its 19.75-percent stake in Rosneft, and chief executive Bernard Looney said he was resigning from the Russian company’s board with immediate effect.

BP shares slumped on the markets on Monday, wiping billions of dollars from the company’s value.

Shell said the value of its ventures with Gazprom was about $3 billion and would be reflected on its balance sheet later this year.

AFP

UPDATED: Court Orders Shell To Pay Ogoni People N45.9bn Fine In 21 Days

A combination of file photos of a gavel and a logo of Shell Petroleum Company.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Shell Petroleum Company to pay the sum of N45.9 billion to the people of Ogoni in Rivers State.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed who gave the order on Wednesday held that the money must be paid within 21 days.

The sum is a cost awarded against the company several years ago for oil spillage in Ogoniland.

In his submission, Counsel to Shell Petroleum Company, Aham Ejelamo, informed the court that his client had agreed to make the payment.

He proposed that the money be paid through the Registrar of the court in a bank about to be opened for the purpose.

But Justice Mohammed ruled against the request and ordered that the payment be made within the period given through the account of the lawyer to the Ogoni people, Mr Lucius Nwosu.

 

He explained that this was in line with the decision of both the high court and the Supreme Court.

Ogoniland is located in the south-east senatorial district of Rivers in the nation’s Niger Delta region.

Its people – who share common oil-related environmental problems with the Ijaw people – have been victims of oil spillage for several years.

Their plights caught international attention following a massive public protest campaign against Shell Petroleum Company, led by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) – a body that is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).

The case between the Ogoni people and shell has lasted for about 31 years.

A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court presided by Justice Ibrahim Buba awarded the cost against Shell Petroleum Company in a judgement delivered on June 14, 2010, for the sufferings inflicted on the people of Ogoniland.

After several years of legal tussle, the Supreme Court upheld the judgement of the lower court – but Shell Petroleum Company was not satisfied as it sought for some considerations.

When the matter came up on Wednesday, Justice Mohammed explained that it would amount to burying the judgement of the apex court to rule otherwise.

Eni, Shell Acquitted In Nigeria Oil Block Corruption Case

 

 

An Italian court in Milan has acquitted has Eni and Royal Dutch Shell in the oil industry’s biggest corruption trial, the case centers around the purchase of a Nigerian oilfield by Eni and Royal Dutch Shell for $1.3 billion about ten years ago.

After more than three years of proceedings and 74 hearings, judges withdrew to their chambers on Wednesday to consider their verdict, said Marco Tremolada, who heads the panel of judges.

Prosecutors have called for Eni and Shell to be fined and for a number of past and present managers from both companies, including Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi, to be jailed. The defendants have all denied any wrongdoing.

The long-running case revolves around the purchase of the OPL 245 offshore oilfield in Nigeria in 2011 from Malabu Oil and Gas, a company owned by former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete.

AITEO vs Shell: Court Refuses To Unfreeze SPDC’s Bank Accounts

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has refused to discharge an interim order it granted, freezing the bank accounts of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and that of its subsidiaries.

In her ruling on the case on Tuesday, Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo summoned the secretaries and chief financial officers of two banks who allegedly disobeyed the interim ex-parte order directing the freezing of the accounts.

The affected banks and their officials are Citi Bank Ltd., its Company Secretary, Sola Fagbure, and Chief Financial Officer, Sharaf Mohammed, as well as United Bank For Africa (UBA) Plc, its Company Secretary, Bill Andrew Odum, and Chief Financial Officer, Ebenezer Kolawole.

Justice Oguntoyinbo court ordered the alleged contemnors to appear before the court on the next adjourned date of March 29, 2021.

She warned that their failure to appear would result in a warrant of arrest being issued against them.

The judge made these orders while ruling on three applications in a suit filed by AITEO Eastern E&P Company Ltd. against SPDC and four others.

AITEO is claiming about $2.7 billion against SPDC over alleged problems with the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) pipeline it bought from the Anglo-Dutch group in 2015, and over claims that Shell undercounted its oil exports.

At AITEO’s instance, Justice Oguntoyinbo granted an interim Mareva injunction on January 25, 2021, directing 20 commercial banks to block SPDC and its subsidiaries’ accounts and to bar Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiaries from withdrawing money at 20 banks until it ‘ringfences’ potential damages in the lawsuit brought against the firm.

The order was sequel to AITEO’s bid to recover from Shell, the cash equivalent of more than 16 million barrels of crude oil allegedly diverted by the oil giant.

Eighteen of the banks were said to have complied with the order, except Citi Bank and UBA.

On the respondents’ application to vacate the Mareva injunction and unfreeze the bank accounts, the judge held that the ex-parte order subsists, pending the determination of AITEO’s motion on notice.

She, thereafter, adjourned until March 29 for the hearing of the committal proceedings and other applications.

Joined with SPDC as respondents in the suit were Royal Dutch Shell Plc; Shell Western Supply and Trading Ltd; Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd; and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd.

 

Three Applications, One Judge

At the last hearing on March 9, the court faced three applications by the plaintiff – AITEO and the defendants – SPDC and others – relating to its jurisdiction, motion to discharge its ex-parte order, and committal proceedings against the two banks.

AITEO’s counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Kemi Pinheiro, had asked the court to hear the committal proceedings first.

Pinheiro reasoned that it was “necessary that the named persons in committal proceedings (the bank officials) be present in court” because the proceedings “attached to their person”.

He said the alleged contemnors had been served “and there’s proof of service,” adding that the quasi-criminal nature of committal proceedings made their appearance a necessity.

The senior lawyer noted that they had not filed a response.

In their responses, three SANs – Adewale Atake, Olawale Akoni and Chukwuka Ikwuazom – who represented SPDC, the banks, and the four Shell subsidiaries respectively, opposed the move.

They, however, asked the court to hear applications questioning its jurisdiction and another motion to discharge the order blocking the accounts.

After listening to the lawyers, the judge upheld Pinheiro’s application and prioritised the application for committal proceedings.

“The committal proceedings is the appropriate application to consider… I, therefore, hold that the first application to be heard is the committal proceedings,” she held.

The judge further ruled that the presence of the named bank officials was necessary, saying “The alleged contemnors must be present in court at the next hearing, otherwise a warrant of arrest shall be issued against them.”

AITEO vs Shell: Court Fixes March 9 For Ruling

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed March 9 to rule on whether to discharge the interim ex-parte order it granted freezing the bank accounts of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in 20 commercial banks.

On the same day, the court will also rule on whether it has the jurisdiction to even entertain the suit and another seeking to commit to prison the banks and its officials who were said to have disobeyed the interim ex-parte order.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo had granted the order at the instance of AITEO Eastern E&P Company Ltd. who is seeking to recover the cash value of “more than 16 million barrels of crude oil” allegedly diverted by Shell.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, the judge listened to arguments from lawyers to AITEO Eastern E&P Company Ltd., SPDC, the banks, and lawyer to four Shell subsidiaries all involved in the matter.

Arguing the application for committal, counsel to Aiteo Eastern E&P, Kemi Pinheiro, said that it was “necessary that the named persons in committal proceedings (the bank officials) be present in court” because the proceedings “attached to their person”.

He said the alleged contemnors had been served with the court processes but had not filed a response.

AITEO had specifically said two banks and their officials disobeyed the courts interim ex-parte order.

The banks and its officials were listed as Citi Bank Ltd., its Company Secretary Sola Fagbure, and Chief Financial Officer, Sharaf Mohammed, as well as United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, its Company Secretary, Bill Odum, and Chief Financial Officer, Ebenezer Kolawole.

In opposing the application, counsel to the banks, Olawale Akoni, acknowledged that they were served with the court papers on February 24 and 25, but said they were still within the time limit to file a response.

He indicated that the banks intended to challenge the competence and validity of AITEO’s application.

The lawyer also asked the court to make an order vacating the ex-parte order freezing the accounts because according to him, it lapsed 14 days after it was made.

Adewale Atake, who represented Shell, aligned himself with Akoni’s argument on vacating the ex-parte order.

Chukwuka Ikwuazom, also who represented the Shell subsidiaries, made a similar submission and drew the court’s attention to a pending application before the court challenging its jurisdiction to hear the matter.

He asked the judge to declare that the ex-parte order was spent.

Pinheiro, however, countered by arguing among others that the court made the order to last pending the hearing of the motion and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before it by AITEO.

He described the defendants’ arguments as “premature, unfair, and time-wasting.”

In her response, Justice Oguntoyinbo held, “The avalanche of submissions cannot be wished away. The court owes all parties the duty of careful consideration of all authorities cited.”

She adjourned till next Tuesday for the ruling.

In the case, AITEO Eastern E&P Company Ltd. is the plaintiff/applicants while SPDC Ltd. is the first defendant.

The subsidiaries Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Shell Western Supply and Trading Ltd., Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd., and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd. are listed as second, third, fourth, and fifth defendants.

On January 25, Justice Oguntoyinbo directed the banks to “ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments to the value of $2.7 billion and pay all standing credits to the Shell companies up to the value into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court.”

The Chief Registrar was to “hold the funds in trust,” pending the hearing of the motion and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before the court by AITEO.

This followed an application by AITEO Eastern E&P, in its bid to recover the cash value of its “more than 16 million barrels of crude oil” allegedly diverted by Shell.

The defendants subsequently filed an application seeking to discharge the order while AITEO initiated committal proceedings against two banks and their officials for allegedly “interfering, obstructing and/or frustrating compliance with the interim Mareva orders”.

On Thursday last week, the judge adjourned to consider whether to first entertain a motion challenging its jurisdiction or to consider contempt proceedings.

Alleged Diversion of Crude Oil: Court Gives Order Freezing Shell’s Accounts

 

 

In a bid to recover the cash value of more than 16 million barrels of crude oil allegedly diverted from AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd., a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has granted an interim injunction directing 20 commercial banks to freeze the accounts of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd.

Justice Oluremi Omowunmi Oguntoyinbo gave the order following an ex parte application by AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd who is the plaintiff/applicants with SPDC Ltd listed as the first defendant.

Other defendants are Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Shell Western Supply and Trading Ltd, Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd which are listed as second, third, fourth and fifth defendants.

20 banks where the Shell companies operate accounts in Nigeria were also named as respondents in the suit.

AITEO’s application was filed by Messrs Kemi Pinheiro SAN leading Dr Mike Ozekhome SAN, Dapo Olanipekun SAN and four other SANs.

Justice Oluremi Omowunmi Oguntoyinbo directed the 20 banks to “ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments to the value of $2.7 billion and pay all standing credits to the Shell companies up to the value into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court.”

The Chief Registrar is to “hold the funds in trust” pending the hearing of the motion and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before it by AITEO.

The order followed an application by AITEO Eastern E & P against SPDC and the other defendants with the 20 lenders as respondents.

The court restrained the defendants or their agents/privies from presenting to the banks ”any mandate or instrument for the withdrawal of any money and /or funds standing to the credit of any of the accounts” of the defendants kept/maintained “at any of the named respondent banks… “without first preserving/ring-fencing the sum of $1,251,305.5 or its equivalent in any other official currency including but not limited to the naira and/or pound sterling being the value of the plaintiff’s 1,022,029 barrels of crude oil (at the rate of $79.50 per barrel as stated in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) letter dated 8th day of July, 2020.”

The defendants were further restrained in the interim from presenting to the named banks any mandate or instrument for the withdrawal or any money and/or funds standing to the credit of any of the accounts of the five defendants kept or maintained at any of the named respondent banks and or their branches without first preserving and or ring-fencing the total sum of $2,700,583,779,75 or its equivalent in any other official currency comprising of $799,000,000.00.

The sum is “the amounts claimed to have been paid in this suit by the plaintiff to the five defendants for the acquisition of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL)pipelines and the assets; $389,631,877.76 being the total amount claimed in this suit as having been lost by the plaintiff arising from the leakages in the NCTL and the degraded conditions of the NCTL; $578,951,901.99 being the total amount claimed in this suit as having been lost by the plaintiff arising from the crude theft/larceny in the NCTL; $933,000,000 being the total amount claimed in this suit as having being expended by the plaintiff for the repairs of the pipelines and acquisition of the equipment including well-heads, generators and pumps as well as replacing the flow lines within the NCTL;

“That pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, the named banks whether by themselves, director, managers, officers or howsoever are restrained in the interim from accepting, honouring or giving effect in any manner howsoever to any mandate, cheque or instructions presented by all the five defendants whether by themselves or through their agents or privies for the withdrawal of any sum of money and/or funds standing to the credit of all the defendants kept and or maintained at any of the named banks and or their branches without first preserving and or ring-fencing the sums as ordered in prayers 1,2,3 and/or 4 above.”

Justice Oguntoyinbo further directed the respondents’ banks “to pay any sums of money standing to the credit of the defendants within 48 hours of the service of the order of this honourable court up to the sum/value of the amounts stated in prayers 1,2,3, and 4 above into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of this honourable court, who is to hold same in trust;

“Pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction, the respondent banks are directed to sequestrate and/or ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments or chose(s) in the action due to or standing to the credit sum/value of the amounts stated in prayer 1,2,2 and/or 4 above;

“that pending the hearing and determination of the motion for an interlocutory injunction, the named banks are directed to file within 48 hours of service of the order of this honourable court on them returns of the statement of account of the all the five defendants maintained with them as at the date of the order of this honourable court, such returns to be verified by affidavits.

When the matter came up in court, the judge was informed that the defendants had filed an application seeking to discharge the order.

The judge adjourned further proceedings till Wednesday, February 24.

UK Supreme Court Rules That Niger Delta Communities Can Sue Shell In English Courts

Shell had argued it was only a holding company for a firm that should be judged under Nigerian law.

 

The United Kingdom Supreme Court has ruled that polluted Nigerian communities can sue oil giant Shell in English Courts.

According to BBC Africa, this decision overturns a previous Appeal Court ruling and represents a victory after a five-year legal battle.

The Niger Delta communities say decades of pollution have severely impacted their lives, health, and the local environment. Shell in its defence argued that it was only a holding company for a firm that should be judged under Nigerian law.

READ ALSO: Dutch Court Orders Shell To Pay Nigerian Farmers Over Oil Spills

The Supreme Court, therefore, ruled that the cases brought by the Bille community and the Ogale people of Ogoniland against Royal Dutch Shell were arguable and could proceed in the English courts.

Royal Dutch Shell did not dispute that pollution had been caused but argued that it could not be held legally responsible for its Nigerian subsidiary and that the pollution was the result of “crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage, and illegal refining”.

This is coming barely two weeks after a Dutch Court ruled that the oil giant is liable to pay four farmers in the Niger Delta compensation over oil pollution in their communities.

After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeal court in The Hague ruled on January 29 that Shell’s Nigerian branch must pay out for oil spills on land in two villages.

It also held the Anglo-Dutch parent company Royal Dutch Shell liable for installing new pipeline equipment to prevent further devastating spills in the Niger Delta region.

The case, backed by the Netherlands arm of environment group Friends of the Earth, has dragged on so long that two of the Nigerian farmers have died since it was first filed in 2008.

Dutch Court Orders Shell To Pay Nigerian Farmers Over Oil Spills

After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeals court will rule on demands by Nigerian farmers for Anglo-Dutch giant Shell to clean up devastating oil spills in the Niger Delta and pay compensation
(ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP)

 

A Dutch court on Friday ordered Shell to pay compensation in a long-running case brought by four Nigerian farmers who accuse the oil giant of causing widespread pollution.

After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeals court in The Hague ruled that Shell’s Nigerian branch must pay out for oil spills on land in two villages.

It also held the Anglo-Dutch parent company Royal Dutch Shell liable for installing new pipeline equipment to prevent further devastating spills in the Niger Delta region.

The case, backed by the Netherlands arm of environment group Friends of the Earth, has dragged on so long that two of the Nigerian farmers have died since it was first filed in 2008.

“The court ruled that Shell Nigeria is liable for the damage caused by the spills. Shell Nigeria is sentenced to compensate farmers for damages,” judge Sierd Schaafsma said.

 

The oil pollution lawsuit has been on for about 13 years, two of the Nigerian farmers have died since it was first filed.

 

The amount of damages would be determined later, the court said. It did not specify how many of the four farmers would receive compensation.

The farmers first sued Shell in 2008 over pollution in their villages Goi, Oruma and Ikot Ada Udo, in southeastern Nigeria.

A lower court in the Netherlands found in 2013 that Shell should pay compensation for one leak but that Shell’s parent company could not be held liable in a Dutch court for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary.

But in 2015 the Hague appeals court ruled that Dutch courts did indeed have jurisdiction in the case.

 

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on October 11, 2012, (L/R): four Nigerian farmers, Friday Alfred Akpan-Ikot Ada Udo and Eric Dooh, Nini Okey Uche of the Nigerian Embassy, lawyer Prince Chima Williams and farmers Chief Fidelis A. Oguru-Oruma and Alali Efanga pose at the law courts in The Hague.  (Photo by ROBIN UTRECHT / ANP / AFP)

 

Environmental damage

On Friday, the court ruled that Shell Nigeria must pay compensation for the leaks at Goi and Oruma.

“In the Uruma cases, Shell Nigeria and… Royal Dutch Shell are ordered to equip the pipeline with a leak detection system so that environmental damage can be limited in the future,” the court said.

Shell Nigeria should have shut down oil supplies on the day of the spill in the cases in Goi, it said.

The court said it needed more time to resolve the case of Ikot Ada Udo, saying that the leak was due to sabotage but it was not clear whether Shell could still be held liable for it, and for cleaning up.

“For the inhabitants of the Niger Delta it is crucial that their land is cleaned up and their lost crops and livelihoods are compensated by the guilty party: Shell,” Donald Pols of Friends of the Earth Netherlands said in a statement ahead of the case.

Shell has always blamed all of the spills on sabotage and said it has cleaned up with due care where pollution has occurred.

At a hearing last year lawyers for the farmers showed gushing and burning oil spills as well as villagers dragging their hands through water sources, their hands streaked with the substance afterward.

Nigeria was the world’s ninth-largest oil producer in 2018, pumping out volumes valued at some $43.6 billion (37 billion euros), or 3.8 percent of total global production.

In a separate case in the Netherlands, the widows of four Nigerian activists executed by the military regime in the 1990s have accused Shell of complicity in their deaths.

Shell also faces a landmark legal bid to force it to meet emissions targets in the Paris climate accords, brought by several environmental groups in the Netherlands led by Friends of the Earth in 2019.

Dutch Court Rules On Shell Nigeria Oil Spill Case

 

A Dutch court will hand down its verdict on Friday in a long-running case pitting oil giant Shell against four Nigerian farmers who accuse it of causing widespread pollution.

After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeals court in The Hague will rule on the farmers’ demands for the Anglo-Dutch firm to clean up devastating oil spills in three villages in the Niger Delta and pay compensation.

The case, backed by the Netherlands arm of environment group Friends of the Earth, is the first time a Dutch company has been held liable for actions by its foreign subsidiary.

The case has dragged on so long that two of the Nigerian farmers have died since it was first filed in 2008, as Shell argued that the matter should not be heard in the Netherlands.

The ruling is expected at 1000 GMT.

“After almost 13 years, we will hear whether Nigerians will finally receive justice or whether Shell has succeeded in completely shirking its responsibility for the pollution,” Donald Pols of Friends of the Earth Netherlands said in a statement.

“For the inhabitants of the Niger Delta it is crucial that their land is cleaned up and their lost crops and livelihoods are compensated by the guilty party: Shell,” he added.

Shell has always blamed the spills on sabotage and said it has cleaned up with due care where pollution has occurred.

‘New era’

The farmers first sued Shell in 2008 over pollution in their villages Goi, Ikot Ada Udo and Oruma, in southeastern Nigeria.

A lower court in the Netherlands found in 2013 that Shell should pay compensation for one leak, at Ikot Ada Udo, but ruled that Shell’s parent company in the Netherlands could not be held liable in a Dutch court for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary.

But in 2015 the Hague appeals court ruled that Dutch courts did indeed have jurisdiction in the case.

The appeals court will on Friday decide on the substance of the case: whether Shell is to blame for the oil leaks and did it do enough to prevent them and future spills.

“A victory would herald the beginning of a new era in which large multinationals such as Shell can no longer go about their business lawlessly but are accountable for their entire operations, including overseas,” said Pols.

At a hearing last year lawyers for the farmers showed gushing and burning oil spills as well as villagers dragging their hands through water sources, their hands streaked with the substance afterwards.

Nigeria was the world’s ninth-largest oil producer in 2018, pumping out volumes valued at some $43.6 billion (37 billion euros), or 3.8 percent of total global production.

In a separate case in the Netherlands, the widows of four Nigerian activists executed by the military regime in the 1990s have accused Shell of complicity in their deaths.

Shell also faces a landmark legal bid to force it to meet emissions targets in the Paris climate accords, brought by several environmental groups in the Netherlands led by Friends of the Earth in 2019.

Ogoni Oil Spillage: Contempt Charge Filed Against CBN Governor Over N182 Billion Judgment Debt

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: A file photo of officials on duty in Ogoniland, Rivers State. Photo: Twitter- @FMEnvng

 

A contempt charge has been filed against the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele over his alleged refusal to order the payment of N182 billion to Ogoni people in Rivers State.

The N182 billion was awarded against oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company over the oil spillage experienced by the Ogoni people as a result of the activities of the company.

The plaintiffs represented by Lucious Nwosu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed the contempt charge praying the Federal High Court in Abuja to commit the CBN governor to prison for allegedly disregarding an order of court that awarded the money to the aggrieved Ogoni people.

READ ALSO: Edo Governorship Election: Tribunal Defers Ruling On Petition Against Godwin Obaseki

At the hearing of the suit, on Wednesday, counsel to the Ogoni people expressed displeasure over the absence of the CBN governor.

He insists that the charge against Emefiele is semi criminal in nature and warranted his physical presence in court.

Lawyer to the CBN governor, Damian Dodo however informed the court that it was not the habit of his client to underrate any court of law and assured that Emefiele will do the needful at the appropriate time.

On his part, the counsel representing Shell Petroleum Development Company, Olawale Akoni informed the court that he had filed a motion praying the court to dismiss the contempt charge or in the alternative to stay proceedings after taking arguments.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo while adjourning the matter till January 26, 2021 directed the CBN governor and other parties to obey court orders.