Ikebiri Village Sues Oil Company For 671 Million Naira Damage
Ikebiri Village in Southern Ijaw region in Bayelsa State has dragged Italian oil giant, ENI to court for polluting its environment through crude oil mining activities.
The village is asking the court which is in Milan, Italy to award it $2.2 million, about 761 million Naira in damages, as compensation for environmental destruction caused by an oil pipeline explosion in 2010.
An Italian lawyer representing the village, Luca Saltalamacchia told a news conference on Thursday that the village is asking for the compensation along with a commitment to clean up the area covering more than 43 acres (17 hectares).
"The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land," Saltalamacchia said.
According to Saltalamacchia, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited, which is controlled by Eni, has claimed it has already carried out cleaning up operations in the area.
A spokesman for Eni said Agip had always acted responsibly and had cleaned up the areas affected by the 2010 oil spill quickly and efficiently, adding that an inspection by the relevant authorities had had a positive outcome.
"However, some members of the Ikebiri community had already started legal proceedings at the relevant Nigerian court," he said, adding Agip was providing details to clear up the dispute.
He said Eni had been told legal proceedings had also started in Italy.
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 117,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.