- Oil spillage: Bayelsa Community Sues Eni in Italy
The Ikebiri Community in Bayelsa State has dragged ENI, the parent company of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, to an Italian court over oil spillage.
Ikebiri, a coastal community in the Ijaw-South Local Government Area of the state, is seeking compensation for damages arising from an oil spillage that affected their community in 2010.
The Head, Legal Resources, Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Mr Chima Williams, in a statement issued on Tuesday in Yenagoa, backed the community’s legal action.
He stated that ERA/FoEN would offer legal services to the community in conjuction with Friends of the Earth Europe.
According to the statement, the Ikebiri community is calling for adequate compensation and clean-up of an oil spillage since 2010, which has yet to be addressed.
ERA/FoEN stated that ENI, which operates in Nigeria as NAOC, is allegedly responsible for the spill caused by equipment failure.
The statement quoted the Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Ojo, as saying, “This is the first case of its kind against Italian oil giant, ENI, after years of exploitation in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
“Negligence and nonchalance from ENI and its subsidiary, NAOC, have left the Ikebiri community suffering from the impacts of oil pollution for seven years.
“The leak was plugged 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 burnt, without their consent. To date, no adequate compensation has been offered, or the clean-up completed.’’
The monarch of Ikebiri community, Chief Francis Ododo, while justifying the community’s action, said, “Our community cannot wait any longer.
“We have had ENI’s pollution for too long, damaging our fishing, our farming and our lives. We are now looking up to the Italian courts for justice for our people.”
However, the Media Relations Officer, Exploration, Upstream and Technical Activities Unit, ENI, Marilia Cioni, confirmed the litigation in a response via an electronic mail.
“I will revert to you with ENI’s position on this matter shortly,” Cioni said.