The people of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State have hailed what they described as ‘landmark decision’ of the London Technological and Construction Court against multi-national oil giant, Shell.
The Bodo community in Gokana local government area of Rivers State had dragged Shell before the Technological and Construction Court over the oil spills of 2008 and 2009, which devastated their environment.
Justice Akenhead of the court, in his ruling, held that Shell would be liable for the damage inflicted on individuals and communities even if the cause of such damage was sabotage done to its infrastructure, if it has failed to take enough steps to protect the assets including pipelines from vandalism as well as tampering.
In a press release issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, president of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, said the decision of the court was a new judicial movement towards holding Shell accountable for all its decades of ecological war in the area.
Pyagbara said, “The ruling is not only courageous and relieving but also represent a new judicial movement towards holding Shell accountable for its decades of ecological war on our people.
“The decision is unambiguous and passed the message that Shell can no longer mask behind sabotage to deny the Ogoni and other oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta of their inalienable right to safe and clean environment, and compensation.”
“The simple meaning of the ruling is that those affected by oil spills and related oil production impacts could demand compensation from Shell or any other investor whether the cause of the spill has been sabotage or otherwise.”