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Shell appeals land case to Nigeria’s supreme court

Customers fuel up at a Shell gas station in Westminster, Colorado October 30, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

By Austin Ekeinde Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:46pm GMT

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell has asked Nigeria’s supreme court to overturn a ruling that requires the firm to forfeit its residential headquarters in Port Harcourt, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

An appeals court ruled in favour of the Mgbesilaru community in the Port Harcourt oil hub last week, saying their land was illegally given to Shell by the federal government.

The case has inspired a similar lawsuit against Shell by the local community on Bonny Island, where the company has its main crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals.

Relations between foreign oil companies and local community groups have long been fragile in the Niger Delta, which is home to Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry and where poverty is widespread.

Decades of neglect and frustration in the region led to the rise in militancy and criminal activity in recent years.

Shell’s spokesman John Barnden said the company immediately appealed to the supreme court against the April 15 ruling. He declined to comment further about the case.

Shell paid rent to the Mgbesilaru community for decades until it was given ownership of the land by the federal government in 1999.

The court ruled the government did not have the right to give Shell the land.

“The bad faith of Shell is glaring. It is an intolerable conduct of a tenant,” said Emmanuel Asido, one of the lawyers representing the Mgbesilaru community.

A lower court in a similar case ruled in favour of the Bonny community last year, saying Shell must forfeit land ownership on the island. The company has also appealed that decision.

Shell’s oil facilities at Bonny can process and export up to 1.25 million barrels per day, making it the largest terminal of its kind in Africa.

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  1. NO.2 We also learnt that the fishermen union has a case involving about 100 deferent crude oil spill incidents in niger delta against SHELL, which some of the spills are of thesame magnitude with the BP oil spill.My question to the government and people of UNITED STATES & UNITED KINGDOM is as follow:if US,UK & the rest of the world are no longer seeing the BP plc as capable,competent and useful because of just one oil spil,how will they feel for 100 crude oil spills?.NOTE:I am not against any one is just that i feel for the maginalised people of Africa. JAMES CUSTER

  2. Concerning the Mgbeslaru community,Bonny community and other matters against SHELL,if shell has misunderstanding with the niger delta fishermen,they better ask for forgiveness,i am afriad,from the information we gathered,the nigeria union of fishermen,had directed all fishermen in niger delta,both old or young,men or women to carry out fasting and prayer twice every week against any company that is depraving their rights to see know peace and this fasting & prayer have been going on for long now,Children below the age of 15yreas comes out to the rising sun to cry for GODS intervention twice every week.For millions of poor men,women & children to cry every week against a person,i wonder how that person could survive in life JAMES CUSTER

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