Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay a Nigerian fishing community for two massive oil spills that devastated the Niger Delta region in 2008 and 2009. Shell will give $53 million of the $83 million settlement, one of the largest settlements ever in Africa, to 15,600 fishermen and farmers with the remaining $30 million going to the broader Bodo community. This is the first time that compensation for an oil spill has been paid directly to affected individuals, according to the BBC.
The settlement “is thought to be one of the largest payouts to an entire community following environmental damage,” the claimants’ London lawyer, Leigh Day, said. With the out-of-court settlement, Shell avoids having to defend what could have been a negatively portrayed high court case in London that was due to start shortly.