Target: The Government of the Netherlands
Goal: Hear more cases from Nigeria against Shell for numerous negligent oil spills
Countless farmers and fishermen in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria have seen their livelihoods destroyed by massive pollution and commonplace oil spills caused by Shell’s activities in the region. On January 30, 2013, a Dutch court ruled in favor of a Nigerian farmer who had sued Shell for damages from the destruction of his land. This is a welcome development, since court rulings within Nigeria itself against Shell are rarely enforced, but it does not go nearly far enough.
For decades, Shell has, with varying degrees of complicity, allowed barrel upon barrel of oil to be spilled into the environment in the Niger Delta region, spoiling the water and land. It is estimated it could take up to $1 billion and 30 years to fully clean up all the damage. Despite repeated calls to do something, Shell has scarcely been held responsible. Nigeria’s government is largely incapable of doing so, thus it must fall to other parties to hold Shell to account.
The Netherlands, where Shell is headquartered, has jurisdiction over the company’s activities, which is what enabled the country’s courts to hand down a ruling against Shell a few weeks ago. The Economist reported that this important ruling could “open a flood-gate to legal complaints against oil companies.” And so it should. Shell has been allowed to pollute this region with relative impunity for too long.
By signing the petition below, you will petition the courts of the Netherlands to hear more legal cases against Shell’s activities in Nigeria’s Delta region.
Dear judicial ministers of the Netherlands,
For years, Shell Oil, a company based in your country, has polluted and severely damaged both the landscape and the local population in southeastern Nigeria’s Delta region. Farmers and fishermen have seen their livelihoods destroyed, with little to no redress from either their own government in Nigeria or from Shell.
We applaud the decision of one of your courts recently to rule against Shell in favor of Friday Akpan, a Delta farmer, for polluting his land. However, one single case is not enough to hold Shell responsible for the decades of pollution it has brought to the Delta region.
So, we ask that your court systems hear more cases brought against Shell from Nigerians, because action from your government may be one of the only avenues of redress the people of southeastern Nigeria have to hold Shell accountable for harm it has done in the region.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: rickz via Flickr