Nigerian Village Sues Italian Oil Company

By Chuma Kisu

Nigerian man pours out split oil from Eni Oil Company of Italy.

Nigerian man pours out split oil from Eni Oil Company of Italy.

According to international news, a Nigerian village has recently filed a lawsuit in Milan, Italy against the Italian oil company Eni.

The villagers are demanding compensation for damage caused by an oil pipeline explosion in 2010, an Italian lawyer representing the village said on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

The village of Ikebiri in the Niger Delta is asking Eni for 2 million euros ($2.2 million) in damages along with a commitment to clean up the area covering more than 43 acres, Luca Saltalamacchia, the attorney for the village, said in a recent news conference.

“The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land,” Saltalamacchia said.

Mining and energy firms around the world have battled a spate of cases brought in international courts against their subsidiaries in other countries.

Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell successfully fought efforts by one Nigerian community to sue the company in British courts, but it settled another case brought in London by a Nigerian community in 2015.

According to Saltalamacchia, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited, which is owned by Eni, has claimed it has already carried out cleaning up operations in the area.

No one at Eni was immediately available for comment.

Saltalamacchia, who will be flanked by environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth in the case against Eni, said a first hearing had been set for Dec. 11 at the Milan civil court.

Eni has been operating in Nigeria since 1962 and last year produced nearly 117,000 barrels of oil per day.

 

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