Shell has agreed to pay £55m in compensation to the Bodo, Nigeria, community residents for two oil spills in the Niger Delta in 2008.

The company’s Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) will pay £2,200 to each member of the community impacted by the oil spill.

The remaining amount of the compensation package will be provided to the community.

Two oil spills occurred on the Bomu-Bonny Pipeline in Bodo in late 2008 due to operational failure of the pipelines.

SPDC managing director Mutiu Sunmonu said: "From the outset, we’ve accepted responsibility for the two deeply regrettable operational spills in Bodo. We’ve always wanted to compensate the community fairly and we are pleased to have reached agreement.

"From the outset, we’ve accepted responsibility for the two deeply regrettable operational spills in Bodo."

"We are fully committed to the clean-up process being overseen by the former Netherlands’ Ambassador to Nigeria. Despite delays caused by divisions within the community, we are pleased that clean-up work will soon begin now that a plan has been agreed with the community."

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The lawyer representing the claimants, Martyn Day from Leigh Day, said: "Whilst we are delighted for our clients, and pleased that Shell has done the decent thing, I have to say that it is deeply disappointing that Shell took six years to take this case seriously and to recognise the true extent of the damage these spills caused to the environment and to the those who rely on it for their livelihood.

"We hope that in future Shell will properly consider claims such as these from the outset and that this method of compensation, with each affected individual being compensated, will act as a template for Shell in future cases in Nigeria and in the other countries in which it operates."

Image: Nigerian villagers vote for the settlement in December 2014. Photo: courtesy of Leigh Day.