Shell Nigeria ordered to compensate farmer over pollution

Oil giant Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary has been ordered to compensate one Nigerian farmer for damage caused to his farm by oil pollution by a court in The Hague.

Four other claims against Shell International were dismissed by the court, which backed Shell’s claim the damage was caused by sabotage, not poor maintenance.

The case was brought by environmental group Milieudefensie on behalf of four Nigerian farmers. It is the first time the Anglo-Dutch multinational has been taken to court in the Netherlands over the actions of a subsidiary in another country.

The amount of compensation payable will be determined in a separate case.

The farmers had demanded Shell clean up oil pollution in their villages as well as damages. They argue their land has become polluted, fish are dying and drinking water is no longer fit for human consumption.

The case took four years to come to court. Shell argued the case should not be heard in the Netherlands because the country has no jurisdiction over Shell Nigeria (SPDC) but was overruled.

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