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Italian Eni is facing a lawsuit from a Nigerian village that demands financial compensation from damages caused by a pipeline explosion in 2010, according to the Italian lawyer representing the village in the Milan case.
Ikebiri, located in the Niger Delta, demands a pay out of $2.2 million in addition to a commitment to clean up the environmental mess left on over 43 acres of land, Luca Saltalamacchia told reporters.
"The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land," Saltalamacchia, supported by the Friends of the Earth environmental group, said.
A spokesperson from Eni said that its subsidiary in Nigeria, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) had already responsibly handled clean-up from the spill. The company added that a government inspection after the process found that area had been reclaimed from oil damage.
"However, some members of the Ikebiri community had already started legal proceedings at the relevant Nigerian court," the spokesperson said, adding that the NAOC would provide additional details to resolve the dispute.
Eni is also embroiled in a corruption scandal rooted in Nigeria, but being prosecuted in its home country.
In February, Italian prosecutors asked Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, and 10 other people to be sent to trial over charges of alleged international corruption, according to judicial sources.
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According to the lawyers, back in 2011 Eni had allegedly paid $1.092 billion to a current account of the Nigerian government. At the time of those events, Descalzi was a manager at Eni and was named chief executive in May 2014.
A few months before that, Eni, oil services group Saipem, and former Eni CEO Scaroni were sent to trial over bribes Saipem had allegedly paid in Algeria a few years ago in order to obtain oil and gas contracts.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…