Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Shell in the UK and Nigeria, accusing the oil giant of causing environmental and human rights violations in the Niger Delta.
One lawsuit involves over 13,000 people from the Bille and Ogale communities of Rivers State, Nigeria, who claim that Shell is responsible for regular oil spills that have polluted their water sources and damaged their livelihoods. The communities are represented by the law firm Leigh Day, which argues that Shell has failed to clean up the spills and compensate the affected people.
Shell denies liability and contends that the claims are too old and lack legal merit. The company also blames sabotage and theft for the spills, which it says are beyond its control. Shell reported a record profit of $40 billion in 2022, raising questions about its accountability and social responsibility.
The other lawsuit concerns a Nigerian family who alleges that Shell’s clinic in Port Harcourt botched a simple surgery on their 10-year-old son, Chinazam, in September 2016, leaving him in a coma for seven years. The family is represented by the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), which reports that Shell has violated its own policy of ensuring the well-being of individuals.
The family claims that they faced poor communication, misdiagnosis, and negligence from the medical staff at the Shell clinic. They also accuse Shell of delaying their son’s transfer to a specialized facility in the US and withholding the investigation report on the surgery. The family seeks justice and dignity for their son, who remains hospitalized.
Shell has not admitted any wrongdoing and has challenged the lawsuit in court. The company says it has provided adequate care and support for Chinazam and his family.
These lawsuits highlight the impact of Shell’s operations on the Niger Delta region and its people. They also raise questions about Shell’s accountability and transparency as a global corporation.