The AFP noted that the king also accused Shell of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, gross negligence and the violation of international treaties and obligations to the United States and Nigeria.
Along with $1 billion in damages, the lawsuit seeks immediate cleanup of the pollution and an injunction to require air and water monitoring.
The Nigerian plaintiffs filed the suit in a US court because of what they called a historical "culture of impunity" for Shell in Nigeria and "disregard" for the Nigerian judicial process, reported the AFP.
For example, the plaintiffs claim Shell has yet to pay $1.5 billion in pollution damages to the Ijaw Aborigines, or to comply with a 2005 order to end gas flaring in the Iwherekan community.
King Okpabi's civil complaint relies on the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789, a law designed to assure foreign governments that the U.S. would uphold international law.
Royal Dutch Shell has a notorious history with the Ogoni People, that escalated during a murder case in 1995 when a Nigerian court ordered the hanging of Kenule "Ken" Beeson Saro-Wiwa along with eight other cultural rights activists.
Saro-Wiwa was accused of the involvement in the murder of four Ogoni leaders though he himself had led a non-violent campaign by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People and was not present in Ogoniland on the day of the slayings.
"At least two witnesses who claimed that Saro-Wiwa was involved in the murders of the Ogoni elders have recanted and were set to testify that they had been bribed with money and offers of jobs with Shell to give false testimony, all in the presence of Shell's lawyer," reported NGO Watch.
International outrage erupted after Saro-Wiwa's execution, and resulted in Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations for over three years.
In 2009, Royal Dutch Shell reached an out-of-court agreement to pay a $15.5 million settlement to Saro-Wiwa's family and other plaintiffs, reported the New York Times. The settlement was in response to allegations of liability for human rights violations in Nigeria, including Saro-Wiwa's execution.
Oil Spill at Odidi, Nigeria, 1998. (Corbis Images)
Shell Oil spill in the Delta region of Nigeria, 1999. (Corbis Images)