Nigerians Accuse Shell of Causing Delay in Oil Spill Lawsuits in London

<strong>Nigerians Accuse Shell of Causing Delay in Oil Spill Lawsuits in London</strong>

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Shell Plc is attempting to shield itself from scrutiny over pollution in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta, lawyers representing more than 13,000 Nigerians have argued at a London’s High Court, allegations which the company strongly denied.

Thousands of members of the Bille and Ogale communities are suing Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Development Petroleum Development (SPDC) over oil spills, Reuters reported.

Shell denies any liability and argues that parts of the cases were brought too late.

It also says the majority of the spills were caused by illegal third-party interference, such as pipeline sabotage and oil theft.

The company is asking the High Court to set an initial trial in early 2024 to decide whether parts of the case were brought too late and whether SPDC is liable for oil spills caused by third-party interference.

Shell says two further trials could then take place to determine allegations against its subsidiary and Shell’s alleged liability as its parent company.

Shell’s proposal is “advanced as a device to shield (Shell) from scrutiny”, Richard Hermer, a lawyer representing the claimants, said in court filings.

The case, parts of which began back in 2015, has already been to the UK’s Supreme Court, which ruled in 2021 that there was an arguable case that Shell owed the claimants a duty of care.

Hermer said allowing Shell’s application could put off a final decision on the lawsuits until 2029.

Related Articles