It was a long-awaited verdict and a mixed result for most Nigerians: Shell was found responsible for pollution in only one of the five individual cases.
A court in The Netherlands ruled on Wednesday that the oil company could have done more to protect its pipeline in the village of Ikot Ada Udo, in Akwa Ibom state, from sabotage and it must pay compensation for the damages.
In the other four areas, the pollution was found to be caused by sabotage, with the court specifically saying Shell could not be held liable for it.
The ruling was a partial victory for the plaintiff and a measure of relief for Shell.
Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood reports from the Hague.