A British court has blocked pollution claims against Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell by many residents of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region demanding action over decades of oil spills there.
Members of the Ogale and Bille communities, who say thousands of lives have been devastated by environmental disasters from the global company, had applied for the case to be heard in Britain, arguing that rampant corruption in their home country prevents them from achieving justice in courts there.
But the High Court in London on Thursday said that it did not have jurisdiction in the case, ruling that it should be settled in Nigeria.
“Our community is disappointed but not discouraged by this judgement,” King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi, ruler of the Ogale Community, said in a statement.
“This decision has to be appealed, not just for Ogale but for many other people in the Niger Delta who will be shut out if this decision is allowed to stand.
“Shell is simply being asked to clean up its oil and to compensate the communities it has devastated,” he said.
The company’s lawyer, Peter Goldsmith, told judge Peter Fraser during a hearing in November that the cases concerned “fundamentally Nigerian issues”, and should not be heard in London.