Shell Petroleum Development Company has responded to claims of two communities â€“ Bille and Ogale – in Ogoniland.
A spokesperson for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) said: â€œWe are at an early stage of reviewing the claims made by the Bille and Ogale communities.Â Both Bille and Ogale are areas heavily impacted by crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage and illegal refining which remain the main sources of pollution across the Niger Delta.Â Ogale is in Ogoniland and it is important to note that SPDC has produced no oil or gas in Ogoniland since 1993.Â Access to the area has been limited following a rise in violence, threats to staff and attacks on facilities.
â€œThe Bille and Ogale communities have chosen to bring these claims in the UK instead of in Nigeria, whose laws govern our operations.Â It is our intention to contest the jurisdiction of the English court over these claims.Â We believe that allegations concerning Nigerian plaintiffs in dispute with a Nigerian company, over issues which took place within Nigeria, should be heard in Nigeria.â€
â€œFurthermore, Ogoniland is the area covered by the United Nations Environment Programmeâ€™s Environmental Assessment (â€˜the UNEP reportâ€™) of 2011. UNEP presented its recommendations as an opportunity to bring a culture of multi-stakeholder cooperation to Ogoniland, a process in which SPDC has been involved.Â SPDC has also initiated action to address all the recommendations directed to it in the UNEP report as operator of the SPDC Joint Venture.Â In mid-2015 SPDC JV, along with the government, UNEP and representatives of the Ogoni community, agreed to an 18-month roadmap to fast-track the environmental clean-up and remediation of Ogoniland which includes a governance framework.
â€œThese steps have been widely lauded across civil society in Nigeria and have been welcomed by members of the Ogoni community itself.Â Asking the English court to intervene and order remediation activity covering the same ground as the UNEP implementation plan is a direct challenge to the internal political acts and decisions of the Nigerian State, and its sovereign right to determine, within its own territory, the appropriate future path for the Ogoni community.â€