From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
As Niger Delta communities continue to celebrate their victory against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at the Netherlands court as well as London over series of pollution on their lands, the leadership of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, said the is not a surprise.
In a statement by the Acting Executive Director of ERA, Barr Chima Williams, stated that Shell has no hiding place from victims of their environmental pollution until there is full remediation in the degraded areas.
Barr Williams noted that with the judgements prophesies of the Ogoni killed environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, over Shells day of reckoning has come to fulfillment.
He recalled that ‘on 12th day of November, 2020, Environmentalists, Community people, Friends of Ken Saro Wiwa, the media gathered in Port Harcourt, the Oil Capital of Nigeria for the 25th Memorial Environmental Summit in honour of Late Ken Saro Wiwa and the other Ogoni activists that were murdered by the Nigerian State under the jackboot of then Military Dictator Gen. Sanni Abacha.
‘At the event, the prophesies of Ken Saro Wiwa over Shell and her environmental footprints in the Niger Delta resonated!’
According to Williams, ‘The judicial events in the past 2 weeks plus where Shell has been roundly held accountable in their home countries of first Netherlands and later United Kingdom for their negative environmental foot prints in their host country,/Nigeria has laid credence to the fact that after all Ken Saro Wiwa amongst other hidden qualities was also an environmental justice prophet!
‘With the Court of Appeal in the Hague, Netherlands having held Shell liable to the 3 Nigerian Farmers from the Niger Delta for lacking in their duty of care to the Claimants on Friday January 29, 2021 and the Supreme Court in London, the United Kingdom on Friday February 12, 2021 also delivering their judgment in favour of the Nigerian Appellants of Ogale and Bille communities of Ogoniland in Rivers State against Shell for failing in their duty of care and granting jurisdiction to the Courts in the UK to hear cases against Shell for their misconducts in their host countries’.
He said ‘Environmentalists from across the world are celebrating these jurisprudential statements that has come to embolden all environmental justice campaigners all over the world that what we have been saying all these years have been true and correct! These will amplify our strength and voices in the struggle to give our environment and mother nature the desired protection it deserves!
‘With Shell, one of the biggest environmental destroyer across the world knowing that they can no longer have respite for their negative practices and activities even in their home countries against their poor victims from poorer countries, it means not only Shell but all the other extractive companies operating across the world who looks up to Shell, will automatically begin to adjust their corporate behaviors towards the environment and people of their host countries.
‘With the above, it is hoped that our environment will be better off as new lease of life will begin to be breath into the environment when steps are taken to ensure that the negative and polluting practices of extractive companies across not only the Niger Delta, Nigeria but all over the world is not only questioned but held accountable to victims of such practices’, the ERA boss added.