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Nigeria Daily Independent: Shell Revamps 36 Ogoni Oil Spill Sites

By Odudu Okpongete
Senior Correspondent,
Port Harcourt
Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), says it has completed remediation work in 36 oil spill sites out of 87 such sites identified in Ogoniland, Rivers State.
Shell puts the number of such sites identified in the Niger Delta between 1999 and June 2005 at 2,056, out of which it said remediation was successfully carried out in 586 sites.
Shell’s Corporate External Affairs Manager, Senibo Don Boham, disclosed the figures during an interactive session with journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday just as he lamented the gross underdevelopment in the region despite its huge oil wealth.
Boham, however, stated that the company was forced to discontinue the remediation of the Ogoni spill sites towards the end of 2004 after the indigenes interpreted the government exercise to mean resumption of oil exploration in the area.
He said in almost all the areas where the company had undertaken such remediation, the soil had been restored to its original state and the inhabitants able to carry out farming activities in such spots.
The company’s spokesperson attributed most of the oil spills recorded in the region in recent times to acts of sabotage, citing the case of Rumuekpe in Rivers State where 135 hacksaw cuts were inflicted on its pipelines in 2004 alone.
Boham further stated that Shell was deeply disturbed over the underdevelopment in the Niger Delta 60 years after it began oil exploration in the area, attributing it to abandonment by the Federal Government’s.
He stressed that if the government had implemented the recommendations of the Willinks Commission, which sought special funding for the development of the area, the prevailing poverty and restiveness witnessed there would have been adequately tackled. According to him, it was wrong for anybody to wait for pressure from foreign governments before giving attention to the region’s problems.
Boham disclosed that Shell spends about $60 million annually on development in its 1,600 host communities, but admitted that the figures which amounted to about N4 million per community was inadequate to meet the development needs of the communities.
He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to take the development of the Niger Delta as a priority while also appealing to state governments in the region to use the 13 per cent derivation revenue judiciously to tackle the endemic poverty in the area.

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