Oil giant Shell has agreed to pay a Nigerian fishing community 55 million pounds ($83.5 million) for the worst oil spill ever suffered in that country.

Wednesday's agreement ends a three-year legal battle in Britain over two spills in 2008 that destroyed thousands of hectares (acres) of mangroves and the fish that sustained villagers of Bodo, in southern Nigeria.

London lawyers Leigh Day say it "is thought to be one of the largest payouts to an entire community following environmental damage."

Shell says it always wanted to compensate the people of Bodo fairly. But the company originally offered the entire community just 4,000 pounds ($6,000).

Shell also agreed to a cleanup.

Community leader Chief Sylvester Kogbara says the money will build health centers, provide clean water and refurbish schools.