Shelling out bucks

Published: Friday 31 March 2006

A Nigerian court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to pay us $1.5 billion as damages for causing pollution in the state of Bayelsa located in the Niger Delta.

The court upheld a resolution by the Nigerian National Assembly, which said that Shell should pay the money to the ethnic Ijaw communities in the state.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, the Nigerian arm of Shell, said it had appealed against the judgment on, among other grounds, the strength of independent expert advice, which demonstrates that there is no evidence to support the claims of the group". The appeal will lead to lengthy procedures before the case is settled.

Communities have accused Shell of spilling oil into the rivers and swamps of the Niger Delta, spoiling crops and driving fish away. But Shell claims most spills were caused by saboteurs trying to steal the oil.

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