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Oil Spill: Ilaje Coastal Communities Demand Compensation from Shell

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22 October 2015

The Ilaje coastal communities in Ondo state have alleged that oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) allegedly excluded them from the ongoing discussions and compensation agreement it reached with the communities that were affected in the oil spill from the Bonga oil field in 2011.

They have therefore appealed to President, Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter to ensure their inclusion in all discussions with regards to payment of compensation.

The communities, have however, threatened   a legal action against Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, (SNEPCO),a subsidiary of SPDC, should the oil firm continues to exclude them from the compensation agreement reached between it and the communities and over the Bonga oil Spill of 2011.

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) was said to have directed the parties to reach amicable settlement on the issue. It was gathered that, contrary to NOSDRA’s directive to SNEPCO to pay $3.6 billion to affected communities of Bonga oil spill of 20th December 2011 offshore Ilaje local Government Ondo State, the company is yet to pay some of the communities .

A community leader, who is also the general secretary of Abereke Communities and field coordinator, Communities Environmental protection Committee of Ilaje land (CEPCOM), Prince Taiwo Aiyedatiwa said despite the fact that Ilaje Coastal Communities of Ondo State are host Communities to SNEPCO at its Bonga Oil facility offshore Ilaje local government of Ondo State, based on the operational map of the Shell oil company at their disposal, Shell allegedly fails in carrying out its corporate social responsibilities to the Ilaje coastal communities since it commenced operation in the area.

He said: “Last year, in the month of January 2014, we were aware that SNEPCO called almost 88 coastal communities in Delta and Bayelsa states into stakeholder forum in Abuja through the house of representative committee on environment in which Honorable Minister of Environment , National Oil spill detection and response agency (NOSDRA) Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other regulatory bodies were in attendance in which the company agreed to compensate the Communities.”

“But to our surprise, Ilaje local Government of Ondo State, who are host communities to SNEPCO that was also affected by the oil spill in which we have reported in our various letters to the company, regulatory bodies and the presidency, since the oil spill occurred, but our communities was not invited by the oil company and its committee that handled the matter. The oil spill affected five coastal states in the Niger Delta; the states are: Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo and Rivers.”

Based on these, they therefore, want the federal government, through its agencies, parastatals as well as committees to prevail on SNEPCO to convene stakeholders’ forum and invite the Ilaje coastal communities that were badly affected by the oil spill and compensate them for their properties that were destroyed by the oil spill. They also want the oil company to carry out remediation of their area, with a view to cleaning it up and bringing back the aquatic lives of the environments.

He said, NOSDRA’s director-general, Sir Peter Idabor had in a letter to the oil firm, stated that the agency imposed a sanction on the company in 2014 for the damage done to the natural resources and means of livelihood by the spill since 2011.

Idabor, he also said had observed in the statement that the company did not make any attempt to provide relief materials for the shoreline fishing communities with respect to the acute and chronic impact of the crude oil on the environment.

He added:  “Despite the fact that the incident was caused by equipment failure and the admission by the then Managing Director that 40,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the Atlantic Ocean, no attempt was made by the oil company to provide relief materials for the shoreline fishing communities with respect to the acute and chronic impact of the crude oil on the environment.”

“NOSDRA DG, Sir Peter Idabor, has directed SNEPCO to pay the sum of $3,600,191,206.00 or its Naira equivalent as compensation and administrative costs for failure to effect clean up on the impacted site within the stipulated period, as provided in the agency’s Act and Regulations.”

“NOSDRA in 2014 issued a notification of sanction to the oil company with regard to the Bonga spill incident but it has yet neither paid compensation to the affected shoreline communities nor provided relief materials to them, as directed by the Agency and the House Committee on Environment.

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