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Nigerian village sues Italian oil company over pipe explosion

NASA Space Shuttle Overflight photo of the Niger Delta
NASA Space Shuttle Overflight photo of the Niger Delta

A lawsuit has been filed against Italian oil company Eni, by a village in Nigeria.

The village of Ikebiri in the Niger Delta is seeking compensation for an oil pipeline explosion in 2010 which affected the village and its surrounding area. According to an article from Reuters, the village is asking Eni for two million euros, and a commitment to clean up the 43 acre (17 hectare) area affected by the oil leak.

Luca Saltalamacchia, the Italian lawyer representing Ikebiri, told a news conference: “The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land,”

Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), which is a subsidiary of Eni, claims to have already carried out a clean-up operation on the spill, one which authorities have inspected with a 'positive outcome'. Meanwhile, Eni claims that NAOC have always acted responsibly.

“However, some members of the Ikebiri community had already started legal proceedings at the relevant Nigerian court.” A spokesman for Eni told Reuters, adding that NAOC was providing details of the clear-up to help resolve the dispute.

The first hearing for the case will be held at the Milan civil court on 11 December. Saltalamacchia will be supported by environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth in the proceedings against Eni.

Eni has been operating in Nigeria since 1962 and produced 117,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2016. 

NASA Space Shuttle Overflight photo of the Niger Delta