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HOMEF seeks vigorous environmental justice campaign in Niger Delta

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Health for Mother Health Foundation (HOMEF), has declared that said the ruling of the Dutch Appeal Court against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over environmental offences offers the people some hope that their fight for justice is yielding results.

The Dutch Appeal Court had ordered SPDC to pay compensation to farmers in some Niger Delta states following the devastation of their farmlands through oil exploitation.

Speaking at a roundtable with the theme: Abolishing Persistent Ecological And Economic Crimes In The Niger Delta, Executive Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, said the judgment was another plus to the judgments against a foremost polluter in the Niger Delta.

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Bassey, who described the judgment as landmark in the history of environmental justice campaign, said HOMEF was hopeful that the outcomes would strengthen the cause for justice for the people and their environment, as well as highlight the power of unity over a common cause.

He said the court ruled on February 12, 2021 at the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom in a suit brought before it by HRH Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi and the Council of Chiefs, suing for themselves and people of Oghale and Bille kingdoms in Rivers State, against Shell that the oil giant could be sued in the United Kingdom for environmental offences committed at Ikot Ada Udo in Akwa Ibom State.

While stressing the significance of the judgment, Bassey said: “These cases mean a lot to the suffering people of the Niger Delta, whose cry for justice has often been met with indifference or utter violence, as was the case that led to the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders.

“The judgments clarified that parent companies can be held accountable for ecological crimes committed by their subsidiaries and not continue to enjoy financial returns from such misadventures.

“Personally, it comes as therapeutic as Goi in Ogoni has for nearly two decades become the symbol of the devastated Niger Delta. It is one community polluted, degraded and burnt by oil and whose people have been forced to suffer the indignity of living as refugees in Ogoni and other Niger Delta communities.”

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