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Olomoro community alleges dumping of toxic waste by Shell

From our October 2005 Shell News Archive

Olomoro community alleges dumping of toxic waste by Shell

“Olomoro Community in Delta State led by renowned Environmentalist, Dr George Idodo-Umeh, yesterday raised an alarm over the spread of strange diseases in the area due to the illegal dumping of toxic waste in the River Areba by the Shell Producing and Developing Company”

Thursday 20 October 2005

By Osaro Okhomina

BENIN CITY — Olomoro Community in Delta State led by renowned Environmentalist, Dr.George Idodo-Umeh, yesterday raised an alarm over the spread of strange diseases in the area due to the illegal dumping of toxic waste in the River Areba by the Shell Producing and Developing Company (SPDC), alleging that over 50 persons were killed due to the consumption of fishes contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.

The elders of the community, who were led to the Benin Office of Vanguard yesterday by Dr George Idodo-Umeh and armed with a survey conducted by him on the damage done to the river by the alleged deposition of liquid and solid waste, challenged the Federal and State Governments and the oil company to conduct a joint survey on the waste and come out with a control measure to save the lives of their people.

Speaking on behalf of the community, Dr Idodo-Umeh said the tests conducted by him on the existence of high concentration of heavy metals and other poisonous materials was done due to the increasing cases of deaths in the area, saying all efforts by the community to stop the dumping and call for reassessment of such waste by the Ministry of Environment failed to yield result.

According to him, “in recent past, the invalid water of our community have been subjected to ecological degradation as a result of environmental pollution. It is also well known that the effect of pollution is detrimental to fisheries resources and other aquatic organisms.

“We have noticed, however that the oil exploration activities of SPDC in the areas of oil wells, laying of pipelines, construction of flow stations with other surface activities have been contaminating the environment.”

RELATED ARTICLE

200 Olomoro villagers occupy Shell flowstation

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Emma Amaize

13 November 2011, Sweetcrude, WARRI- OVER 200 members of the host Awhakia family of Olomoro community in Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State have besieged the Olomoro Flowstation, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, with canopy and chairs in protest, demanding that the oil company should implement the terms of agreement reached with them.

The protesters who occupied the flow station said they would not leave until the company swung into action in respect of payment of adequate compensation, environmental clean-up, proper community development projects, creation of good and harmonious working relationship with the families.

Their spokesmen, Mr. Sunday Iderike and Godday Egbogbo said over the years, the company had taken the family for granted because of its peaceful disposition, adding, “We are sad over SPDC’s lukewarm attitude and deliberate refusal to implement the resolution reached since October 2010. The company’s stand is clearly an invitation to confrontation”.

“There have been regular oil spill incidents here in Olomoro Compressor Station since 2001. As we are talking to you now, another one has just occurred on the same spot; the soldiers and mobile police men on guard here are witnesses…They have just come from the spot it happened this morning… Shell should stop deceiving us,” they said.

Wondering why the company was yet to obey the 2010 peace treaty reached by the family, SPDC, Federal Ministry of Environment, security agencies and Isoko South Local Government Council in respect of the family land, where it is operating, they stated, “Our patience has been exhausted since the company is shying away from cleaning up the impacted land and compensating owners of the land”.

The family asserted that SPDC has continually violated the agreement between the two parties in respect of the disputed land, which company has been carrying on its operations since 1963, adding that backing out of the agreement was not the solution.

When contacted, an environmental expert and consultant to Awhakia family, Dr. George Idodo Umeh, said SPDC had no option than to obey the advice of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

He observed that spillage had occurred severally on , adding, “The regular spillage occurrence in the same spot is being caused by frequent equipment failure; the company should not be rigid, but must try as much as possible, and as a matter of good policy, update its technology in that direction so as t save lives”.

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