Nigeria's National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has fined the Nigerian subsidiary of Royal Dutch oil firm Shell US$5 billion for the 2011 Bonga oil spill in the country's oil-producing Niger Delta region, the local media reported Wednesday.
The report said NOSDRA Director General Peter Idabor announced the fine, which was slammed on the Shell Petroleum and Development Company (SPDC).
He said the fine would serve as a deterrent to other firms that would treat activities which deplete the environment with levity, adding: 'The kind of impunity Shell and its allies have demonstrated so far in the Niger Delta area in the past should be addressed if the future and people of Nigeria and the environment are to be protected.”
However, Mr, Idabor said the compensation for the communities affected by the massive oil spill would only be recommended after the post-impact assessment has been carried out.
He said the agency is currently studying the assessment report on the oil spill, which occurred in December 2011 and spread over 100 nautical miles from the ocean, depriving fishermen in the affected areas of Bayelsa and Delta of their means of livelihood.
A separate government agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had earlier asked Shell to pay US$6.5 billion as compensation to the victims of the spill.
Analysts said Shell may challenge the fine and compensation in court.
The oil-rich Niger Delta region has been devastated by recurring oil spills that have ruined the environment.