The decision of the Appeal Court at The Hague on 18 December 2015 that the four farmers whose lands and creeks were damaged by Shell’s pollution can indeed sue the oil mogul in The Netherlands has come as refreshing news. While this is a sweet step towards total victory, we are saddened that while the case drags on the polluted lands are yet to be remediated and the victims are still deprived of the use of their lands and creeks.
Uganda is currently in high gear to produce and export its own oil and expects to export its first consignment of oil by the close of 2018. The country boasts a number of prospective oil wells around Lake Albert in four major exploration areas (EAs). These include the Murchison Falls NP exploration area, the Buliisa exploration area, the Kaiso Tonya Oil block and the Kingfisher oil block.
Perhaps the most horrendous crude oil pipeline incident of 2015 was an explosion that occurred on 9 July while repairs of a damaged pipeline were ongoing at Azuzuama, along Nigerian Agip Oil Company’s Tebidabe-Clough Creek route. The explosion and raging inferno occurred during a Joint Inspection Visit (JIV) embarked on to determine the cause of an ongoing oil spill there. The explosion and ensuing inferno claimed at least fourteen lives, including those of two government officials. The tragedy was followed by contentious processes of identifying the victims and according them decent burial – a near impossible due to reported reticence of Agip and the fact that some of the victims were burnt to ashes.