King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi holds up a plastic bottle containing contaminated water from his community in Nigeria, proof of oil pollution that he blames on Royal Dutch Shell — and on which he hopes a London court will deliver justice.
“My people are drinking this water,” said the tribal king of the Ogale community in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Okpabi has flown to London for a High Court hearing on Tuesday in which lawyers for more than 40,000 Nigerians are demanding action from Shell to clean up oil spills that have devastated their communities for decades.
“There are strange diseases in my community — skin diseases, people are dying sudden deaths, some people are impotent, low sperm count,” he told AFP. “I can afford to buy water. But can I afford to buy for everybody? No.” The Anglo-Dutch oil giant argues that the case should be heard in Nigeria, pointing out that it involves its Nigerian subsidiary SPDC, which runs a joint venture with the government, and Nigerian plaintiffs. Read more