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Nigeria: Commissioner Demands Compensation From Shell For Oil Spill

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Commissioner Demands Compensation From Shell For Oil Spill 

Abia State Environment Commissioner Emeka Onuoha, says Shell Petroleum Development Company must pay compensation for the environmental pollution it caused in the oil producing communities of the state.

Onuoha, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Umuahia, noted that negotiations between government and the company on the issue had reached an advanced stage.

He said the only way to calm frayed nerves and forestall a resort to violence by restive youths of the affected communities was for Shell to pay compensation for the pollution.

”The company must pay compensation to the communities for the enormous environmental degradation caused by its operations and government will not compromise its stand on the issue,” he said.

NAN reports that Owaza community in Ukwa East Local Government Area of the state has suffered enormous environmental degradation following repeated oil spills resulting from Shell’s operations.

The community has demanded compensation from the company, claiming that the spills destroyed life, farmland and forest.

The commissioner said that although spills were a common phenomenon in oil-bearing communities, ”what is more important is to embark on remedial measures whenever they occur”.

He said the government might be compelled to seek legal redress if the on-going peaceful negotiation failed to yield ”meaningful result”.

Onuoha also said that the government was pursuing the issue of compensation vigorously and urged the communities to “maintain the peace”.

On erosion, he said government had begun restoration work on the Ohafia, Amiyi-Ugwu and Amachara gully erosion sites, while approval had been given for many others.

He appealed to the people to complement government’s efforts on the protection of the environment and to take advantage of this year’s World Environment Day to plant trees.

The commissioner advised manufacturers in the state to ensure proper treatment of effluent discharged by their companies in order to make the environment healthy for living. (NAN)

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