His Royal Highness Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi, the paramount ruler and hereditary king of the Ogale community in the oil-rich Niger delta, is ready to explode.
After nearly a week of sitting quietly in top hat and regal chains in the obscure technology and construction court in London listening to Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, argue why 45,000 impoverished Ogalean farmers should not be allowed to sue the company in Britain for historical pollution, he says he feels “betrayed and saddened … I dispute everything they have said. To listen to Shell saying they have not been not responsible for the pollution in Ogale has been dreadful.”
King Emere wants to sue Shell in London for not cleaning up pollution because he fears his community may never get justice in Nigeria. “You can never, never defeat Shell in a Nigerian court. A case can go on for very many years. You can hardly get a judgment against [an oil company] in Nigeria. Shell is Nigeria and Nigeria is Shell.”