In a series of hearings over the past week, the King has argued on behalf of 40,000 fellow Nigerians that the firm is responsible for “devastating” environmental damage caused by oil pollution.
He was represented in court this week by the British firm Leigh Day, which argued that Shell should be liable for failing to protect its pipelines to prevent criminal damage.
“I am here is to tell the Shell directors that they have made tons of money from our community by destroying our environment,” King Okpabi added.
“It is important for them to know that the proceeds are indeed blood money. It is heartbreaking when you see first hand the devastation caused by the activity of these multi-national companies.
“They are running away from their responsibility…but now I have been in court and I have now seen the independence of the system, and I am confident it will decipher the truth.”
Shell was the first oil company to operate in Nigeria, starting production in 1958.
In the 1990s, the military government sent armed troops to put down protests by the Ogoni people, turning the oil-producing south into a war zone.
A spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), the subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell which is facing the legal action, said: “Both Bille and Ogale are areas heavily impacted by crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage and illegal refining which remain the main sources of pollution across the Niger Delta.
“We are contesting the jurisdiction of the English court over these claims.”