Shell Petroleum Development Company has finally agreed to pay a compensation of £55 million (N15.3 billion) for two oil spills that occurred in Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State in 2008.
The company had allegedly offered £30 million initially, but the community was reported to have rejected it, making the oil giant present the new offer.
According to a statement by Shell’s Corporate Media Relations Manager, Precious Okolobo, the £55 million settlement agreement provides for an individual payment to each claimant, who accepts the settlement agreement in compensation for losses arising from the two regrettable spills, amounting to up to £35 million in total. He explained that the remaining £20 million payment will be made for the benefit of the Bodo community generally.
About 15,000 residents of Bodo community, represented by a UK law firm, Leigh Day, had in 2011 appealed to a London court to ask Shell to pay it a compensation of more than £300 million, for the spilling of 500,000 barrels of oil.
The London High Court had in June 2014 rejected the community’s attempts to expand the scope of the compensation, as it ruled that the pipeline operator could not be held responsible for damage caused by oil theft. The judgement was however delivered based on preliminary issues in the suit.