A Dutch court has ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to pay compensation over oil spills in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
This recent ruling could rise to many more cases against the Nigerian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell over its operations in the country.
The court found SPGC liable for damages from pipeline leaks in the 2 villages of Oruma and Goi and will decide the amount of compensation later.
According to a report by Aljazeera, the Court of Appeal in The Hague on Friday ruled that the Nigerian arm of the British-Dutch oil company, which has its headquarters in the Netherlands, must pay compensation over a long-running civil case involving 4 Nigerian farmers seeking compensation, and a cleanup, from the company over pollution caused by leaking oil pipelines.
The court did not specify how many of the 4 farmers would receive compensation for the oil spillage.
Although the court did not indict Royal Dutch Shell as being directly responsible for the oil spillage, it, however, ordered it to install a leak detection system on the Oruma pipeline, the site of a significant number of the spills in the case.
The court in its ruling said, “Shell Nigeria is sentenced to compensate farmers for damages.’’ The ruling can be appealed via the Dutch Supreme Court.
This is the first time a company and its foreign subsidiary have been tried in the Netherlands for allegedly being negligent abroad and could have far-reaching implications for future legal actions against oil firms.
The Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, one of the groups that initiated this legal action, tweeted, ‘’Tears of Joy her. After 13 years, we’ve won.’’
What this means
This ruling has set a precedent for where such cases can be heard and could potentially increase the number of court cases against the international oil firms in their home countries rather than in Nigeria where those oil spillage or environmental degradation would have occurred.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that this case was established in 2008 by the farmers and the Friends of the Earth campaign group, who were seeking compensation for lost income from contaminated land and polluted waterways in the Niger Delta region, the heart of the Nigerian oil industry.
- The reported oil spillage occurred between 2004 and 2007, but pollution from leaking oil pipelines remains a major problem in the Niger Delta.
- Shell argued that saboteurs were responsible for leaks in underground oil pipes that have polluted the delta. The company also argued that it should not be held legally responsible in the Netherlands for the actions of a foreign subsidiary, meaning Shell Nigeria.
- Friends of the Earth, which has supported the Nigerian farmers in their legal battle, argues that leaking pipes are caused by poor maintenance and inadequate security and that Shell does not do enough to clean up spills.
- Shell is facing other legal battles. In a separate action brought by Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth, a court in The Hague will determine in May whether Shell is violating human rights by extracting fossil fuels.
CBN includes sugar, wheat on FX restriction list
The CBN is set to include sugar and wheat in the forex restriction list.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to place sugar and wheat on its FX restriction list.
The plan was disclosed by the apex bank via its verified Twitter handle in a statement credited to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The tweet stated: “Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them. #Emefiele.”
Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them . #Emefiele
— Central Bank of Nigeria (@cenbank) April 16, 2021
It would be recalled that over the years, the CBN has been reviewing its list of restricted food items to include more items, with the most recent being the addition of maize, a widely-consumed staple food in the country.
What you should know
- The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had earlier (on Thursday) given this hint while on an inspection visit to the proposed $500 million sugar processing facility in Nasarawa state, belonging to Dangote Sugar.
- In 2015, the CBN listed 41 items that had been placed on its FX restriction list citing that the move was necessary to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve and boost local production of the items on the restriction list.
- Some of the items which made the 2015 list are margarine, poultry and eggs, rice, and cement.
- In 2020, the apex bank included maize in its FX restriction list as it directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.
- Nairametrics had also earlier explained in its publication following the new policy shift, that the government’s premise for deciding to restrict FOREX on food is faulty, especially since Nigeria has not attained full food security and the agricultural sector is still struggling.
FG signs new Sustainable Development Goals agreement with UN
The Agreement is for new development cooperation with initiatives towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals set in the UN Agenda 2030.
The Nigerian Government has signed a deal with the United Nations to develop new cooperation towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a statement on Thursday after the agreement was signed with the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS, represented by Ifeoma Charles.
The Minister said, “On behalf of the Nigerian Government, I signed an agreement with the UNOPS represented by Ifeoma Charles Multi-Country Office Rep. The Agreement is for a new development cooperation with initiatives towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals set in the UN Agenda 2030.”
What you should know
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are:
No Poverty; Zero Hunger, Good Health, and Well-being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reducing Inequality; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnership for the Goals.
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