Shell Plc’s Nigerian unit will finally pay over $110 million to its host community in the Niger Delta, to resolve decades of dispute over an oil spill that occurred more than 50 years ago.
According to ruling of the Court, the company will pay the Ejama-Ebubu people N45.7 billion ($110.9 million) in compensation; to put an end to a legal case that began in 1991, the community’s lawyer Lucius Nwosu revealed on Wednesday, August 11.
Shell approached an Abuja Court, on Wednesday to disclose the development, he said.
The payment “is for full and final satisfaction” of a Court judgment issued against the company 11 years ago, a spokesman for Shell said.
The origin of the community’s grievance against the oil company; dates back to a rupture in one of the firm’s pipelines in 1970 but Shell insists that the environmental damage was caused by“third parties” during a civil war that was raging at the time.
While the joint venture that Shell operates “does not accept responsibility or liability for these spills; the affected sites in the Ebubu community were fully remediated,” the company said.
A Federal Court had in 2010 ordered Shell to pay N17 billion to the community, a ruling that the oil major challenged up to Supreme Court in November.
In March 2020, a judge in a related Court case said that, with interest accrued; Shell’s debt stood at nearly N183 billion by January 2019 – a valuation the company vehemently contested.
In February, Shell initiated arbitration proceedings against the Nigerian government; at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes following its unsuccessful attempts to overturn the 2010 ruling. Shell didn’t say in its statement if it will withdraw the claim.
Nwosu assured that Shell will pay the agreed sum within 21 days.