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Shell Petroleum appeal judgment on gas flaring in Delta

The Local unit of Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria, SPDC has filed an appeal challenging a judgement of the Federal High Court, Benin City, ordering a halt to the continued flaring of gas in Iwhrekan, Delta State.

In a case instituted by one Jonah Gbemre on behalf of Iwhrekan community, Justice J. Nwokorie of the Federal High Court, Benin had ordered SPDC to stop gas flaring in the community forthwith.

The community hosts the Otorogu gas plant, in Ughelli South, Delta State, where Shell has been flaring gas for decades.

The community also joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as defendants in the suit.

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The court had further declared that the actions of the first and second respondents (SPDC and NNPC) in continuing to flare gas in the course of their oil exploration and production activities in the applicant’s community was a violation of their fundamental rights to life.

In addition, the judge noted that it was a violation of the complainants’ right to a healthy environment and dignity of human person guaranteed by Section 31 and 34(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

Dissatisfied with the judgement, SPDC filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin with a suit No. CA/B/419/2017, asking the appellate court to determine if the lower court judge had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Shell is also appealing on the ground that the evidence relied upon for the judgement by the trial judge were not scientifically proven by Gbemre and Iwhrekan community before judgement was given in their favour.

The appeal suit, which was slated for hearing January 20, 2022, at the Court of Appeal, Benin, has SPDC Ltd., and Nigerian NNPC as applicants, as well as Gbemre (for Iwhrekan community) and attorney general of the federation as respondents.

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