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11years After, Shell Agrees To Pay N45bn Compensation To Ogoni People Over Oil Spill

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has agreed to pay the N45.9 billion awarded to the Ogoni people of Rivers state as compensation for oil spills in their communities.

While addressing Ahmed Mohammed, judge of a federal high court in Abuja, on Wednesday, A.O Ejelamo, lawyer to Shell, said the company has resolved to pay the monetary compensation awarded in 2010, according to reports by TheCable.

In 2001, ten representatives of the Ogoni people instituted the suit against the oil company for the losses allegedly caused by the oil spills.

Ibrahim Buba, then of Port-Harcourt division of the federal high court, in June 2010 gave judgment in favour of the Ogoni people awarding N17 billion as compensation.

The court equally granted the Ogoni chiefs a 25-percent interest charge on the principal sum of about N17 billion.

SPDC appealed against the judgment up to the supreme court – it lost.

In 2020, the company had also approached the apex court seeking a review of the judgment debt.

But while delivering a ruling in November 2020, the five-member panel, led by Olabode Rhodes- Vivour, a former justice of the Supreme Court, unanimously dismissed Shell’s application, saying it lacked merit.

Lucius Nwosu, lead counsel to the Ogoni communities had noted that the judgment sum, with the accrued interests, stood at about N182 billion.

At the resumed court session on Wednesday, Ejelamo sought the court’s permission to pay the debt through the chief registrar of the court in a bank account to be opened for the purpose.

However, it was eventually agreed that the amount is paid to the aggrieved people through their lawyer.

TheCable reports that the Ogoni people waived the interest on the principal amount as concession agreed upon during reconciliation.

An independent assessment done by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that for over 50 years of oil operations in the area, the pollution in Ogoniland has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed. Shell stopped production in Ogoniland and withdrew from there in 1993.

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