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Oil Spill: Syndicates Defraud Communities As Shell Remains Adamant On Payout

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Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 08.16.28BY SAHARA REPORTERS, NEW YORK, FEB 28, 2015

An investigation by SaharaReporters reveals that several rogue syndicates have been selling oil spill compensation forms to members of oil-producing communities in Bayelsa State ostensibly to enable the residents to benefit from a fund established to compensate victims of the December 2011 Bonga oil spill. However, some concerned activists told Sahara Reporters that the sale of forms was exploitative, especially since it was not clear that those who file for compensation would ever receive any payment.

The House of Representatives and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had in November 2014 recommended a compensation of $3.98 billion for victims of the incident.

NOSDRA estimated that 40,000 barrels of crude were discharged into the Atlantic during an operational mishap in an oil field operated by Shell Nigeria Production and Exploration Company (SNEPCO).

However, a Shell spokesman, Joseph Obari, maintained at the weekend that the Bonga spill did not hit affect the shoreline, arguing that the company should not pay any compensation.

Even so, our correspondent found out that a variety of groups were selling tens of thousands of compensation forms to residents of the oil producing communities in the state.

Ebrasin Leghemo, a member of the Koluama 2 community in Bayelsa, said that a firm of valuers, Dutch Nigeria Limited, had allocated 10,000 forms to the communities.

“There are three groups involved and we negotiated with them to give us 10,000 forms at the rate of N1,000 for indigenes and N2,000 for non indigenes,” he said, adding, “We are told that each claimant would get N400,000.”

Mr. Leghemo continued: “We heard that the House of Representatives has mandated Shell to pay $3.98 billion to the affected communities and we have secured the 10,000 slots for our community for impacted people amongst us.”

Meanwhile, various agents of the firm of valuers were in the area selling the forms in bulk. Some members of the various communities told our correspondent that they had paid between N1,000 and N1,500 to get one.

One resident, James Wilson, said he had filled out and returned a form he bought for N1,000. He said he filed claims for both the Bonga oil spill of December 2011 and Chevron’s rig explosion of January 2012. According to him, he had filed individual claims for N350,000 in damages from the two incidents.

However, Alagoa Morris, an environmental and human rights activist, has voiced concern over syndicates selling the forms to members of the oil communities. He disclosed that the activities of the ‘faceless syndicates’ were suspicious.

Mr. Morris urged the Bayelsa State government to investigate the firms behind the form-selling scheme to save unsuspecting members of the public from exploitation.

SOURCE

Extract from a comment received by Sahara Reporters

Welcome to Nigeria – The scamming “capital” of the world. From top to toe, from head to tail – all is rotten. In a country where the law enforcement and judiciary are corrupt and refuse to work with integrity, then the citizens and criminals will do as they like, knowing that next to nothing will ever happen to them, that there are no consequences to their bad behaviour. Even on the rare occasion that a cheat is caught, all they will do is bribe the police, bribe the lawyers, bribe the judges. Hardly a day passes that I myself am not cheated one way or another.

ENDS

PHOTO: London Rising Tide protestors outside the Royal Courts of Justice to highlight Shell’s devastating pollution in Nigeria

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