Jan. 29 (UPI) — A Dutch court ruled on Friday that oil company Royal Dutch Shell must compensate farmers in Nigeria for oil spills that occurred years ago.
The Court of Appeals ruled that Shell’s Nigerian branch must pay for spills in the Niger River Delta between 2004 and 2007, which spurred a civil case from four farmers that lasted for years.
The farmers sought compensation and cleanup over pollution that resulted from leaky oil pipelines.
The appellate court said Friday that Shell is liable for damages and also must install new equipment to prevent future problems.
“Oil supply in the leaky pipe could have been shut down earlier if a leak detection system had been present,” the Court of Appeals wrote.
The amount Shell must pay to the farmers will be determined at a later hearing.
The farmers said the spills cost them their livelihoods. Shell argued that the oil leaks were caused by sabotage and locals stealing oil.
The court noted in its decision that no evidence of sabotage was found.
A lower court decided in 2013 that only one of the farmers was entitled to compensation.