Royal Dutch Shell

Regional News • Europe
Dutch Court Orders Shell Oil to Pay for Harm Done to Nigerian Farmers
Channa Samkalden, lawyer for the Nigerian farmers, and Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie
Channa Samkalden, lawyer for the Nigerian farmers, and Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie Credit: Milieudefensie

Global environmental justice campaigners heralded a Dutch court's ruling Friday that Royal Dutch Shell's Nigerian subsidiary must pay punitive restitution to Nigerian villages for oil spill contamination that brought death, illness, and destruction to Nigerian farmers and communities.

Friends of the Earth said the ruling exceeded all expectations and marked the first time a multinational had been instructed by a Dutch court to uphold a duty of care for foreign operations.

The devastation, as Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) has previously described, has been vast:

Between 1976 and 1991, over two million barrels of oil-polluted Ogoniland in 2,976 separate oil spills. While oil production has ceased, pipelines operated by Shell still traverse the land, creeks and waterways. Leakages—caused by corroded pipelines as well as bandits—mean that the area is still plagued by oil spills.