Shell faces a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars after accepting full liability for two massive oil spills that devastated a Nigerian community of 69,000 people and may take at least 20 years to clean up.
Experts who studied video footage of the spills at Bodo in Ogoniland say they could together be as large as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, when 10m gallons of oil destroyed the remote coastline.
Until now, Shell has claimed that less than 40,000 gallons were spilt in Nigeria.
Finally after nearly fifty years of continual pollution by the oil companies in the delta someone has been forced to admit liability.
I wrote a diary awhile back:
"It's very controversial. We cannot say whether a particular spill is from one cause or another. Our observation is that there is a serious [bunkering ] problem. I am being seen to be siding with the oil companies, but I am not.
Nobody is even trying to clean it up.
Life expectancy of those living in the Delta is now below 40 years, yet the oil companies will deny it has anything to do with them.
You will here the terrorism argument and sabotage excuse, the fact is that maintenance done to support 660 wells is not a priority, its just get the oil out as fast and a cheaply as possible.
Finally the small and impoverished Ogoni community have some justice having been blamed and persecuted for their resistanceto the oil companies fueling a corrupt government.
The Ogoni people have been victims of human right violations for many years. In 1990, Mobile Police Force men (MPF) shot down protesters against Shell in the village of Umuechem, killing 80 people and destroying 495 homes. In 1993, following protests that were designed to stop contractors from laying a new pipeline for Shell, the MPF raided the area to quell the unrest. In the chaos that followed, it has been alleged that 27 villages were raided, resulting in the death of 2,000 Ogoni people and displacement of 80,000
Now to make sure that:
1] The persecution of the Ogoni people ends.
2] The clean up starts.
3] The oil companies are forced to maintain their pipelines.
It is a start.