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Oil spills: Court stops Shell from selling assets in Nigeria

Oil spills: Court stops Shell from selling assets in Nigeria
March 14
20:13 2022

A court of appeal in Owerri has stopped Shell Plc from selling any assets in Nigeria until a decision is reached on the company’s appeal suit over $2 billion penalties from alleged oil spills.

Citing court ruling, Reuters reports that the court also ordered Shell to deposit the money in an account controlled by the court within two working days.

The court delivered the judgment on Friday, March 11, 2022.

According to the ruling, a panel of three judges said Shell, acting through its agents or subsidiaries, was restrained from “selling, allocating, vandalising or disposing of any of its assets/properties …” pending the determination of the appeal.

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The appeal hearing is slated for May 5.

A spokesperson for Shell Nigeria told Reuters that the company would immediately appeal the decision.

“We are disappointed at this outcome. We have a strong belief in the merit of our case and will take immediate steps under the law to appeal and stay the execution of the decision until the appeal is determined,” the spokesperson said.

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In November 2020, a federal high court had ordered Shell to pay N800 billion to 88 communities in Egbalor Ebubu, Rivers state, over an oil spill that damaged their farms and waterways.

Shell, which denied causing the spill, had appealed the verdict. 

The company has faced a series of court cases in the past over oil spills.

Last January 2021, a Dutch court ruled that the company pay for damages caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta region. Four farmers had sued Shell for oil spills that they say caused widespread land pollution.

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In August 2021, its Nigerian subsidiary had agreed to pay the N45.9 billion awarded to the Ogoni people of Rivers state as compensation for oil spills in their communities.

Last year, Shell started discussions with the federal government to sell its onshore oil assets in Nigeria — about five local oil firms had indicated interest to submit bids

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