The Ikebiri community in Bayelsa State has dragged Eni, the parent company of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, to an Italian court over oil spillage liabilities and pollution.
Ikebiri, a coastal community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state is seeking clean-up and compensation for damages arising from an oil spillage that affected their community in 2010.
The Head of Legal Resources at Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Chima Williams, in a statement issued on Tuesday in Yenagoa, backed the community’s legal action.
He stated that ERA/FoEN would offer legal support services to the community alongside 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 cleanup completed.”
To date, no adequate compensation has been offered, or cleanup 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 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 our health, the welfare and their livelihoods.
“Thousands of oil spills have ravaged the communities across the Niger Delta to feed the profits of ENI, and other oil and gas companies.”
However, the Media Relations Officer, Exploration, Upstream and Technical Activities Unit at Eni, Marilia Cioni, confirmed the litigation in a response through electronic mail.
“I will revert to you with Eni’s position on this matter shortly,” Cioni said.