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Shell’s Niger Delta cleanup: Ogoniland’s uncertain future


Shell’s Niger Delta cleanup: Ogoniland’s uncertain future

A Dutch court in January ruled that Shell had polluted the Niger Delta and ordered the energy giant to pay compensation. But many are now questioning whether it is enough to put right the misery suffered by the people.

The conflict between the indigenous people of Ogoni in Nigeria’s Niger Delta is a perennial one.

This year’s court ruling by an appeals court in the Netherlands — in favour of Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands and four Nigerian farmers — was heralded by some of them as justice.

The court delivered its judgment at the end of a long-running civil case. The farmers were seeking financial compensation and a cleanup by Shell for pollution caused by pipelines leaking oil into the Niger Delta.

“Shell Nigeria is sentenced to compensate farmers for damages,” the court said.

“After years of litigation there is finally justice for many of my clients,” said Channa Samkalden, the lawyer for Milieudefensie and the Nigerian farmers.

For Donald Pols, Milieudefensie director, it was “fantastic news for the affected farmers. It is enormous that Shell has to compensate for the damage.”

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