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Nigeria Claims Money from Shell

A Nigerian court asked oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to pay $1.5 billion

A Nigerian court demanded sked oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to pay 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to communities as compensation for oil pollution on Friday, but Shell argued immediately against the judgment.

Earlier in the day, a federal high court sitting in the southern Nigerian oil city of Port Harcourt gave the judgment in the long-running case between Shell's subsidiary in Nigeria, SPDC,and a group, the "Ijaw Aborigines" of the southern oil-producing state of Bayelsa.

The Ijaw is the largest tribe in the restive Niger Delta, whichaccounts for most of Nigeria's oil production. Impoverished local people usually accuse the oil firms of degrading their environments and economic activities through oil spillage and pollution.

The Nigerian Senate had in 2004 asked Shell to pay the compensation to the affected Ijaw communities. The petition was originally presented to the House of Representatives in 2003 and reviewed by an independent legal advisory panel set up by the lower house.