AllAfrica.com is reporting that oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is on trial for ruining the lands of farmers in the Niger Delta because of oil spills caused by defective pipelines. A Dutch court alleges that Shell broke the law by not repairing leaks that destroyed the lands of Niger Delta farmers. If Shell is found responsible for causing the damage in 2005, the case could set a precedent for global environmental responsibility.
Four Nigerian farmers, backed by lobby group Friends of the Earth, have brought the Anglo-Dutch oil giant into court thousands of miles away from their homes with a civil suit that could open the door for hundreds of similar cases. The case wants Shell to clean up the mess, repair pipelines to prevent further damage to the region and to compensate the farmers for the damage to their businesses and land.
AFP news reports that one of the plaintiffs in the case says that the spill destroyed 47 fish ponds in the village of Ikot Ado Udo.
Shell is blaming “theft” and “sabotage” for ruining the region.
Environmental groups accuse Shell of double standards and treating spills in Nigeria differently from spills in Europe or North America.