Eni is facing a number of charges in the year 2018. The largest and most well-known case is that of Eni’s corruption allegations in relation to the purchase of OPL 245 in Nigeria. Where it is alleged that Eni and Shell conspired with the government of Nigeria and made illegal payments to secure the offshore oil block 2451. According to Simon Taylor, co-founder of Global Witness in an interview with the Financial Times: “The Nigerian people lost out on over $1bn, equivalent to the country’s entire health budget . . . They deserve to know the truth about what happened.”
In addition to this, Eni is also facing a court case which began in January 2018 in relation to serious oil pollution in Nigeria. The plaintiff is the Ikebiri community of Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta, represented by their leader Chief Francis Ododo, whose land was polluted by an oil spill in 20102. To date the oil spill has not been cleaned up and the community is seeking adequate clean up and compensation for the damage3. The king of the Ikebiri community, Chief Francis Ododo said: “After over seven years of struggle to get ENI to clean up its oil pollution, I welcome the start of the case and hope to finally see justice for my community.”
In addition to this, an OECD case was filed against Eni in December 2017 at the National Contact Point In Italy. The case was brought forward by the Egbema Voice of Freedom (EVF) an association of residents of Aggah Community in Rivers State, Nigeria. According to the case: “For over four decades, Eni has been causing annual flooding in the Aggah village, violating the Guidelines and devastating people’s health, property and livelihoods due to the elevated roadways and embankments the company built in order to drill for oil, which block the natural streams that used to flow through the village and floods both residential areas and farmland.” 4. Villagers have been asking Eni for relief for years, but the company has turned a deaf ear to their pleas. Eni is even ignoring the Rivers State government, which has tried to enforce its sanitation and public safety laws to end the floodings. Aggah residents’ requests are simple: build a drainage system that will allow the floodwaters to pass through, and assist those people who have suffered as a result of the floods5.
The cases against Eni brought forward in 2017 and 2018 are illustrative of serious concerns related to the organisations operations in Nigeria. Is 2018 the year that Eni is finally held accountable for abuses that have occurred in Nigeria for the last seven years. Communities in Nigeria will hopefully now receive the compensation and remediation that they justly deserve.
- https://www.ft.com/content/20cba7e2-e574-11e7-97e2-916d4fbac0da [↩]
- http://bhrinlaw.org/news/83-nigerian-community-s-oil-pollution-lawsuit-begins-italian-oil-giant-eni-appears-in-court [↩]
- http://www.foeeurope.org/nigerian-community-oil-pollution-eni-lawsuit-090118 [↩]
- https://www.oecdwatch.org/cases-es/Case_489 [↩]
- https://www.advocatesforalternatives.org/home/public-interest-lawyers-network/flooding-in-aggah-nigeria/ [↩]