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Shell to pay $25M to Nigerian communities

March 20, 2012 at 10:39 PM

OSHODI, Nigeria, March 20 (UPI) -- Shell Petroleum Development Co. was ordered by a Nigerian court to pay more than $25 million to five communities in Imo state for a 1997 oil spill.

The communities sued Shell for compensation for immediate direct losses to their means of livelihood caused by the oil spill, The Guardian in Oshodi, Nigeria, reported Tuesday.

In 1997, a Shell pipeline ruptured along the Egbema-Assa delivery line and a large volume of crude oil became trapped underground until the soil became saturated with water, causing the oil to travel to the surface. The oil damaged swamps, streams and forests of the Umudike, Alimiri Umudike, Ekpe Agah, Ukpazizi Ekpe Mbede and Etekuru communities.

While Shell voluntarily paid $5.7 million to the communities, Justice Gladys Olotu said in her judgment, the sum was not enough.

Olotu ordered Shell to pay more than $25 million in general damages for the indirect economic losses and negative environmental impact the communities sustained.

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