Thursday, 23 May 2013
Case Between The Four Niger Delta Farmers Against Shell: The Verdict! By Sunny Ofehe
By Sunny Ofehe
Today the Dutch court in their ruling dismissed four out of the five allegations in the case of the four Niger Delta farmers against Shell in The Hague, The Netherlands.
I was at the court as I have always been in the court during the trial period. It was a verdict that lasted less than 30 minutes.
It was a media frenzy with all of the local, national and international press fully represented. The court room was full of cameras.
I find the case itself a big victory for our campaign to raise international awareness to the plight of the ordinary Niger Delta people. The fact that the Dutch court in their first ruling on jurisdiction accepted that they have the legal right and competence to handle the case meant the attention of the world will be drawn to the Niger Delta.
This we have been able to achieve because many international media houses have visited the Niger Delta and made so many reports and documentaries on the environmental damage caused by Shell in the region.
The verdict today although very disappointing, but did not come as a surprise. The fact that the court ruled that Shell Nigeria must pay compensation to one of the farmers prove that Shell is liable to the spills in that community.
Today, the attention of the world was again focused on the Niger Delta and this will further give us the boost we need to continue the campaign for the rights of the people of the Niger Delta to be respected by the oil giants extracting oil there.
Friends of the Earth has agreed to appeal this decision. So we look forward to another court case.
Comrade Sunny Ofehe
Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC)