The traditional prime minister of Goi Community in Gokana Council of Rivers State, Chief Eric Bariza-Dooh has gone to church to thank God for securing justice against Shell at the International Court of Justice, Hague, Netherlands.
Dooh, who is the only survivor in the case that had begun 18 years ago, was at the Apostolic Church in Bodo town in Gokana to thank God for the grace to scale through the €500 million lawsuit against Shell as compensation for the destruction of the Ecosystem.
The chief noted that he took the company to court over oil exploration activities that damaged the ecosystem of Goi community, and crippled their means of livelihood.
It was gathered that 20% of the money was given to the plaintiff while the remaining will be used to remediate the environment.
Speaking, Dooh said the victory for Niger Delta environmental activists, add in that it has set a precedence that environmental justice can be gotten internationally.
He said: “I am thanking God because of his grace to my life and Niger Delta people who are fighting for injustice orchestrated by the oil multinational.
“Why I said this is a victory for the Niger Delta people, is because I embarked on a struggle to get justice and it took me about 8 years before I was able to secure a precedent for the matter to be tried in an international court of justice at the Hague Netherlands.”
He disclosed that what would have stalled the matter was the lack of documented evidence and the cost of funding the litigations, advising other communities that on the course of seeking justice remain resolute in their pursuit.
He added: “Apart from that, there had been series of challenges on how to get documented evidence that can prove the matter but it has not been easy to fund such international litigation and it was not only myself, there were doing partnership with me to prosecute the matter all of them have died.
” I am the only survivor that can attest and say this is how it happened apart from the lawyers, journalists and activists that were following upon the matter, that is why I say I must give thanks to God.
“For other communities who are seeking justice, I will advise that they should not relent. They should be steadfast. They should be able to gather information. They should be able to access reliable Civil Society organisations, report their matter there, follow them up attend their meeting because in some of the meetings, they will be guided on how to tackle the multinational companies because these companies are very trickish. They should keep on pressing and leveraging this already-set precedence by us,” he said.
However, a member of Environmental Rights Action a civil society group Kentebe Ebiaridor lauded the efforts of Goi community for being steadfast in their course and not allowing the divide-and-rule tactics to hinder them from seeking justice.
He said; “The important thing is that the people in the whole of this did not relent to ensure that justice is served. And issues around Divide and rule which is a big issue in most communities were not visible because the community stood together and that indivisible stance helped them to get justice.”