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The Nigerian village that stood up to Shell and won

The Guardian

The village that stood up to big oil – and won

The fossil fuel industry faces a reckoning in the Niger Delta after a disaster left families ‘eating, drinking, breathing the oil’

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Today, the oil industry in Nigeria faces a reckoning with Shell at the helm. According to Amnesty International, the oil company has come under “unprecedented legal scrutiny” in recent years for its negligent and criminal practices in the Niger Delta. Several lawsuits are ongoing while others have culminated in courts ordering Shell to pay plaintiffs billions of dollars in damages. The mounting pressure has Shell considering a rapid departure from the region’s oil market. In early August 2021, the company announced it would sell off all remaining onshore oilfields in Nigeria, citing challenges with community unrest, sabotage and a company-wide refocus on promoting green energy. But locals and lawyers see the move as Shell ducking its responsibility to clean up after itself. A court in March barred Shell from selling any more assets in Nigeria while the company appeals against a ruling in which it was found liable for a 2019 oil spill and ordered to pay affected communities nearly $2bn in damages.

“It is incomprehensible to imagine that if these spills and this level of pollution occurred in North America or Europe that it would be allowed to happen,” said Mark Dummett, the director of Amnesty International’s global issues programme.


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