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Activist applauds court’s ruling on SPDC’s payment of N45.9b to Ogoni

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Shell staff

N’Delta group tasks FG on licenses, commencement of artisanal refineries
A human rights lawyer and African Representative of Friends of the Earth in Nigeria, Chima Williams, yesterday, applauded the Federal High Court Abuja judgment that ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to pay Ogoni communities N45.9b for oil spills.

He said Shell admittance to honour the verdict for payment of N45.9 billion was full and final satisfaction of the ruling in the suit of Chief Agbara and Others versus Shell.

Speaking on the judgment, Spokesman for Shell, Michael Adande, noted that it was a final satisfaction of the suit, but maintained that third parties caused the spills during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970.

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“While the SPDC Joint Venture does not accept liability for the spills, the affected sites in the Ebubu Community were fully remediated”

Shell, through its lawyer, Chief A.O Ejelamo (SAN) reportedly announced the company’s decision to pay the money while addressing Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court on Wednesday.

Reacting to the judgment, Williams, who was Counsel to the Ogoni farmers at the Hague, Netherlands case, said: “The courts have been proactive in their strides towards protection of the rights of poor victims against the multinational extractive giants despoiling their environments, violating their rights and destroying their lives and livelihoods sources.”

Also, an Ogoni environmental activist, Celestine Akpobari, applauded the judgment, lamenting that Ogoni waters and farmlands had been severely polluted.

“I applaud the court judgment against Shell, because the company had destroyed more lives in Ogoni land than the Nigerian civil war. The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) recommendations on Ogoni water was similar to a death sentence.”

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BESIDES, the Project With Artisanal Crude Oil Refiners (PACOR) has urged the Federal Government to fulfill its promises and ensure immediate commencement of artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta region by issuing licenses to the cooperatives.

National Facilitator of PACOR and Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene, said the takeoff could be achieved by issuing modular refinery licenses to co-operative societies formed by the artisanal refiners.

He also urged government to establish the Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative (PACORDI) for artisanal crude oil refiners in the Niger Delta region.

Dumnamene said the calls became pertinent following the established Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) in the North and South West regions of the country.

He stated this in a statement yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, after inaugurating the Delta Modular refinery cooperatives in Delta State.

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