Bayelsa community sues oil giant in Italian court

Posted by News Express | 10 May 2017 | 2,662 times

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Ikebiri community in Bayelsa State has dragged Eni, parent company of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), to an Italian court over oil spill liabilities and pollution.

The community, a coastal settlement in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, is seeking cleanup and compensation for damages from an oil spill that affected their community in 2010.

Mr Chima Williams, Head of Legal Resources at Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said in a statement issued on Tuesday in Yenagoa that the group is supporting the community in the legal action. He stated that ERA/FoEN is offering legal support services to the community alongside Friends of the Earth Europe.

According to the statement, the Ikebiri community is calling for adequate compensation and clean-up of an oil spill dating back to 2010, which has yet to be addressed.

RA/FoEN stated that Eni, which operates in Nigeria as NAOC, is allegedly responsible for the spill, caused by equipment failure.

It quoted Dr Gpdwin Ojo, Executive Director, ERA/FoEN as saying: “This is the first case of its kind against Italian oil giant ENI, after years of exploitation in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

“Negligence and nonchalance from ENI and its subsidiary NAOC has left the Ikebiri community suffering from the impacts oil pollution for seven years.

“The leak was plugged in 2010, and NAOC claims to have cleaned up the site.

“However, according to the community, the leaked oil in the surrounding area was simply burnt, without their consent. To date, no adequate compensation has been offered, or cleanup completed.”

The statement also quoted Chief Francis Temi Ododo, Monarch of Ikebiri community, as saying: “Our community cannot wait any longer. We have had ENI’s pollution for too long, damaging our fishing, our farming and our lives. We are now looking to the Italian courts for justice for our people.

“The communities of the Niger Delta have had to live for decades with the effects of continuous oil spills on our health, the welfare and their livelihoods.

“Thousands of oil spills have ravaged the communities across the Niger Delta to feed the profits of ENI, and other oil and gas companies,” the community leader said.

Marilia Cioni, Media Relations Officer, Exploration, Upstream and Technical Activities unit at Eni, confirmed the litigation.

Source: News Express

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