Oil pollution: ERA sure of victory for Nigerian farmers in Netherlands court

Group photograph of ERA Acting ED, Chima Williams and others participating virtually from Port Harcourt, to the appeal Court sitting on a matter filled against Shell by four Nigerian farmer, in Netherlands.

…Urge FG to strengthen institutions to end menace

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, is optimistic that the four Niger Delta farmers before an Appeal Court in Netherlands over oil pollution in the land caused by facilities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), will get their expected justice.

This as ERA has urged the Federal Government to strengthen relevant agencies in the country, so as to hold accountable any multinational firms operating in the country that pollutes the environment through its activities.

The Acting Executive Director of ERA, Mr Chima Williams, on Thursday, while participating virtually to the appeal Court sitting on the matter filled against Shell by the four Nigerian farmer, in Netherlands.

Chief Alali Efanga, Barbara Dooh of Goi community in Gokana, Rivers State, Elder Friday Alfred Akpan of Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom, Chief Fidelis Oguru of Oruma, Bayelsa State and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) filed the environmental justice matter in 2008 against Shell in Hegue.

In an interview with The AUTHORITY in Port Harcourt, Williams stated that for Nigeria to be able to bring to end the continuous environmental pollution by oil giants operating in the nation, the federal government must strengthen its institutions.

ERA also tasked the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to return to Ogoni and other communities experiencing and decommission their facilities to end further pollution in the areas.

He alleged that Shell was out to disobey institutions in the country, adding that when FG takes proactive measures, oil company would be cautious not to pollute their host communities.

He commended the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration for putting structures and institutions to make sure that the Nigeria environment is protected, and quickly added that the government need to ensure the independent of all its institutions to tackle various challenges facing the nation.

He said: “Shell claims to have left most of these Niger Delta communities like Ogoni. They left without decommissioning their facility. They left with abandonments.

“They should come back and clean the environment and decommission their facilities as well clean up the communities before they leave.

“We are optimistic that the court in Netherlands will give the four Nigerian farmers justice for the damage done to their land by Shell. The farmers have already won two critical grounds on the judgement.

“The federal government is trying in terms of getting the institutions , but their efforts are not still good enough. It is not just setting up the institutions, but making them effective.

“Those institutions must be independent of the oil companies. The agencies and institutions are so dependent on the companies for their becoming less effective. Nigeria needs to provide the institutions in charge of environment to be independent then we will get it right.

“We call on federal government to do more in effecting, executing and carrying out it’s mandate. Federal Government should be independent from multinational and local petroleum companies.”

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