Contempt case for Shell over gas


By Richard Black

Environment Correspondent, BBC News website

Man watches gas flare.  Image: Friends of the Earth International

Shell’s behaviour seriously undermines respect for the rule of law that its operations rely on

Peter Roderick, Climate Justice

Waste of resources

In November, the Nigerian Federal Court, sitting in
Benin City, ruled on a case brought by environmental and social groups
on behalf of the Iwherekan community of Delta State.

They argued that flaring creates significant local
pollution and health problems, and is inherently wasteful of a resource
which could bring income to local communities.

Fire at ruptured pipeline.  Image: AP

Shell’s operations have been hampered by a recent explosion

International environmental groups also argue it is a
significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, with flaring in Nigeria
perhaps the biggest source of emissions in Africa.

The Benin court ruled that gas flaring amounts to “…a
gross violation of [the plaintiffs’] fundamental right to human life
and dignity…”, and that Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation had broken national law by failing to carry out an
environmental impact assessment.

By failing to stop flaring, as ordered by the court,
campaigners now argue Shell is in contempt, and have initiated
proceedings in the Federal Court.

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