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ERA/FoEN urges Mobil to obey judgment on N81.9b for oil spill

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Oil spill. PHOTO: aljazeera.com


The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged ExxonMobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to comply with the Federal High Court judgment, which ordered it to pay communities in Ibeno Council of Akwa Ibom State N81.9 billion compensation for oil spills.

In the ruling, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, gave ExxonMobil and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 14 days to pay N81.9 billion to the impacted communities.

The affected communities had sued ExxonMobil and NNPC, demanding compensation for oil spills that destroyed their rivers, streams and other sources of livelihoods.

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Reacting to the development, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, described it as a landmark judgment on the long walk to environmental justice and protection of the environment and livelihoods.

“The judgment is significant because payment of compensation to victims of oil pollution will impact positively on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta suffering under the heavy burden of oil spills pollution and destruction of their livelihoods,” he said.
 
Ojo stated that this and other recent judgments in the Netherlands in favour of Goi and Ogale communities in Rivers State, Oruma in Bayelsa State, Ikot Ada Udo in Akwa Ibom State against Shell in London would galvanise communities to redouble their efforts at holding all polluters accountable for their deleterious actions.

In a statement issued by ERA/FoEN Director of Programmes, Mike Karikpo, the group applauded the Ibeno communities for their steadfastness in the pursuit of justice despite the odds.  

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ERA/FoEN commended the Nigerian judiciary for the rational and courageous decisions in handing in delivering cases involving communities and the multinational oil and gas companies that have often used their large war chest to capture and truncate the judicial process.

It, therefore, urged Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to ensure payment of the compensation as ordered by the court within 14 days and not repeat the stance of Shell that had refused to pay the N17 billion compensation awarded to the Ejama-Ebubu Community in Eleme Council of Rivers state for oil spills in 2010.

“The spill occurred during the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970 and Shell has refused to undertake proper cleanup of the spill or pay adequate compensation. In November 2020, Shell lost an attempt to extricate itself from responsibility for the spill and compensation awarded against it.

“The Nigerian supreme court rejected Shell’s bid to avert the 2010 compensation award, which now amounts N180 billion due to accruing interest. The amount is far less than the environmental damage, biodiversity losses and destruction of livelihoods,” the group lamented.

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