2011 Bonga Oil Spill Victims Wins Case Against Shell Group In United Kingdom

By Storm Mbarka 

The 2011 Bonga spill victims which  have been pursing legal  means  to actualize their quest to effect  compensation to them under the aegis of Oil Spill  Initiative Vanguard  in a suit number HT -2017 -000383 and HT-2020 -143 Bonga Oil Spill , December 20th, 2011,  against Shell Trading and Shipping Company Limited (STATSCO) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO)

 have won the second round of the legal battle against  SHELL  the oil giant in  the United Kingdom. 

 The Oil Spil Victims official message  stated that  Shell Bonga Field  Operations  which discharged over 40, 000 barrels of crude oil into the Atlantic ocean terminated the fishing activities of over 170, 000, fisher men and women,   while 450 communities between Delta and Bayelsa  state were negatively impacted as a result of the pollution.

The Group noted in their assertions that an  area  in the sea  mrasuring over a distance of 185km along the Nigeria Coastal line was   deserted by fishermen dew to the  unbearable effect of the pollution, even as 

farm lands and vegetation  were contaminated across board in the affected area in Delta and Bayelsa state. 

Mr Harrison Jalla the Executive Director of Oil Spill Victims Initiative Vanguard (OSPIVV) who  disclosed this information in   a press conference  held at Tebulous Hotel Ekpan  Warri Delta State  on wednesday 9th December 2020 ,pointed our that OSPIVV is an NGO dedicated to the pursuit of  the  rights of  victims and communities affected by   oil spill hazards , gas flaring,  and to ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive industries in Nigeria. 

Harrison Jalla the Group Executive during the media interactive session told  newsmen  that  the battle for  OSPIVV to ensure that the victims are compensated has been on   since  21st of September 2017,   when the  Group took the legal action Johnson and Steller Solicitors. 

 He  however hinted for reasons not disclosed  that the former lawyers Johnson and Steller Solicitors  are now replaced by  Rosenblatt  Limited , a reputable oil and law firm based in Saint  Andrew East Central  London.

 The Group Executive while  disclosing that the journey to final destination for the victim’s dream of compensation  is yet to be realised legally he  ,   explained : ” Having scaled the  first and second hurdles, were judgement has  been  delivered in favour of OSPIVV, we still have one more  protective claim pending in suit No HT -2020 -000143 filed on the 23rd of April 2020 .

However,  he expressed optimism that the next phase of legal battle will still turn out to be  positive  in favour of OSPIVV just like the first two instances, because the Group have iron cast alibis which the  judges of the earlier courts   relied  on to deliver judgement in favour of the spill victims

According to Mr  Jalla  the OSPIVV Executive, the  SHELL  Group threw everything in the ring to contest the jurisdiction of the English Court to entertain the matter since 2017  just to ensure that they evade payment to the spill victims and the  affected communities. 

 He addred : ” God being a Man of justice  prevailed as the judgement handed down by the Hon. Justice Stuart Smith on the 2nd of march 2020 in  the English court assumed jurisdiction and ruled in favour of OSPIVV , lndividuals and Community Claimants in the matter.”

Speaking further he remarked: ” l am glad to inform you that we are moving closer to end of the tunnel with a silver lining , our case has since been heard on the 19th of November 2020 in a case management session by both parties under a new Judge  , Hon.Justice  Mrs,  O’ FARRELL which outlined how the matter  will progress in the main trial. 

The Group Executive while making his submition  stressed that the on going action is to compell the   Shell Group and its subsidiaries to do the clean up , rectification,  Restoration , compensation and payment of damages occasioned by the negative impact of December 20th 2011 spill.

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