The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company to pay four Delta State communities the sum of N30,288,681 as compensation earlier awarded against it in 1997 by the then Bendel State High Court for damages caused oil spills linked to the company.
The communities; Obotobo, Sokebolo, Ofogbene (Ezon Burutu) and Ekeremor Zion (Ezon Ase) had sued Shell separately in 1983 at the Bendel State High Court over the series of oil spills recorded in the communities around that period. The court consolidated the four cases in 2005.
The trial court, in a judgment on May 27, 1997, held in favour of the plaintiffs and in granting damages, awarded N4,095,085 to Obotobo; N13,278,306 to Sokebolo; N7,392,589 to Ofogbene (Ezon Burutu) and N5,522,701.
Shell appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal, Benin, an appeal the court dismissed on May 2000 for lacking in merit. It further appealed to the Supreme Court, which was again dismissed yesterday.
In a unanimous judgment by a panel of five, the Supreme Court aside from upholding the decisions of the trial and lower courts, awarded N500,00 cost against Shell and in favour of each of the communities. Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs read the lead judgment.
SOUCE: BizWatch Nigeria