Why Ikebiri, Nigerian community, sued ENI, NAOC in Italy
The Ikebiri community in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, has sued the Italian oil giant, ENI,
seeking clean up and compensation for damages from an oil spill which affected the communit
y in the Niger Delta.
Supported by Friends of the Earth Europe and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the
Earth Nigeria, the Ikebiri community is calling for adequate compensation and clean-up of an oil spill dating
back to 2010, which has yet to be addressed.
ENI, which operates in Nigeria through its subsidiary, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), is responsible
for the spill, caused by equipment failure.
Godwin Ojo, official of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, said: “The spill which could
have been managed spread to a huge expanse of the Ikebiri swamp land due to the non-chalant attitude of the
ENI/NAOC over oil spill clean-up and remediation. This case
, which is the first of its kind against ENI and in Italy, could have been avoided were ENI/NAOC to have
behaved responsibly. This act of impunity and recklessness of the oil companies against the environment and
people of the Niger Delta of Nigeria must end.”
The leak was closed in 2010, and NAOC claims to have cleaned up the site. However, according to the
community, the leaked oil in the surrounding area was simply burned, without their consent. To date, no
adequate compensation has been offered, or clean-up completed.
Chief Francis Temi Ododo, the King of the Ikebiri community, said: “Our community cannot wait any longer.
We have had the ENI’s pollution for too long, damaging our fishing, our farming and our lives. We are now looking
to the Italian courts for justice for our people.”
The communities of the Niger Delta have had to live for decades with the effects of continuous oil spills on their
health, the welfare and their livelihoods. Thousands of oil spills have blighted the communities across the Niger
Delta to feed the profits of ENI, Shell and other oil and gas companies, according to the organisations.
Colin Roche, extractive industries campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “For far too long the communities
of the Niger Delta have had to live with the pollution of their land, their water, and their air by oil companies who’ve
put profit before their lives. ENI should now live up to its responsibility and clean up the mess it has made and
compensate the community for having to live with their destruction?”
To date, 11 million barrels of oil had been spilled in the Delta, twice the amount spilled during the
Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and new spills still occur weekly. Environmental
Rights Action (Friends of the Earth Nigeria) and Friends of the Earth Europe continue to campaign for
the clean-up of the region.