The Federal Government has dragged Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, claiming N1.3 trillion against the oil firm for the December 20, 2011, Bonga oil spills, which created ecological and environmental challenges for coastal communities in Delta and Bayelsa states.
The FG demanded N784Billion as compensation for oil spillage that destroyed the affected communities and another N495Billion as restitution and restoration of the devastation of the Economic Zone of the Nigeria territorial waters, and N50million as cost of this legal action.
The suit is protecting the interest of fishermen and persons, numbering about 285,000 from 350 communities and satellite villages, affected by the Bonga crude oil spillage.
Mr Akindele Olubunmi, Deputy Director, Oil field assessment department of NOSDRA, in an affidavit filed at Federal High Court Abuja, said he has the consent and the authority of President Muhammadu Buhari, A A Malami SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and the Director General of NOSDRA, to bring the Legal action in relation to damage and devastation done to the exclusive Economic Zone, Ecosystem, marine life, and the environment, caused by Bonga crude Oil spills of December 20, 2011.
According to Mr. Olubunmi, this happened when the export line linking their Float Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel at their Bonga Field deep offshore, which was supplying crude oil to a tanker (MV NORTHIA), ruptured and thereby spewed crude oil into the Sea. The incident was reported to the Federal Government that same day through NOSDRA.
The defendants however admitted spewing 40,000 barrels of crude Oil into the sea causing devastating degradation of the aquatic life, marine environment including the territorial waters of Nigeria along Niger Delta axis and destruction of sea beds and aquatic lives in the continental Shelf within the Nigeria exclusive Economic Zone, but have refused to pay compensation, Punitive damage and cost of restoration, restitution and redemption of the environment statutorily assessed by the plaintiffs.