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Dutch court to take on Shell Nigeria cases

By Omoh Gabriel  with Agency Report
Dutch Shell and its Nigerian unit will face compensation demands in a Dutch court for alleged damage caused by oil spills in Nigeria after the court ruled yesterday it was competent to handle the cases.

Environmental group, Friends of the Earth, Netherlands and four Nigerians aim to sue Shell and Nigeria-based Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in a district court in The Hague on charges related to incidents of oil spills in Nigeria.

Shell had asked for a ruling on whether the Dutch court had jurisdiction over SPDC’s Nigerian activities, but the court rejected a claim of incompetence.

“The court has decided that it is competent, so we will be handling the case,” said a court spokeswoman. “The facts are connected and for reasons of efficiency the cases against Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Nigeria will be handled jointly.”

Friends of the Earth Netherlands and the Nigerian plaintiffs,who are fishermen and farmers from the oil-rich Niger Delta, welcomed the decision to pursue the cases jointly.

“Now we can start the real lawsuit about whether Shell is responsible and how much they have to do to compensate the damage,” a spokeswoman for the environmental group said.


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