The Federal Government has sued Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. The FG wants the court to award N1.3 trillion against Shell for the December 20, 2011, Bonga oil spills, which created ecological and environmental challenges for coastal communities in Delta and Bayelsa states.
The suit is protecting the interest of fishermen and persons, numbering about 285,000 from 350 communities and satellite villages, affected by the Bonga crude oil spillage. The government, in the suit, is demanding N884 billion as compensation for the oil spill that destroyed the affected communities. It is demanding another N495 billion as restitution and restoration of the devastation of the economic zone of the Nigeria territorial waters and N50 million as cost of the legal action.
Co-defendants in suit are Shell Petroleum N.V, B.V Netherlands International Indusrie-E Handel Maatschappij, Shell Transport and Trading Company Plc, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, who are all allied companies of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.
In an affidavit sworn to by a Deputy Director, Oil Field Assessment Department of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Mr. Akindele Olubunmi in the suit, counsel to the plaintiffs, Awosika Adekunle, averred that he had the consent and the authority of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr A. Malami (SAN), Attorney General of the Federation and Director General of NOSDRA, to depose to this affidavit.
He stated that the plaintiffs brought the suit for themselves in relation to damage and devastation done to the exclusive economic zone, ecosystem, marine life, and the environment caused by Bonga crude oil spills of December 20, 2011.
Meanwhile, based on an application by plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr Dada Awosika, seeking the order of the court to serve court process on four of the defendants who are based outside the country, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, while adjourning the case to June 6 for mention, ordered that all the court process in the case be served on Shell Petroleum N.V, B.V Netherlands International indusrie-e handel Maatschappij, the Royal Transcorp and Trading Company Plc and Royal Dutch Plc.