‘Shell using JTF to force us to sign report on oil spills’

Energy Worth with Agency Report

The people of Aghoro 1 community in Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, have accused Shell Petroleum Development Company of using the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, to coerce their leaders into signing oil spill reports.

Aghoro, a coastal settlement along Ramos River, recently experienced an oil spill from Shell facility in the community which polluted the river, farmlands and surroundings.

A disagreement in the areas impacted by an oil leak on the Trans Ramos Pipeline within Shell’s oilfield at Aghoro communities is said to have stalled the release of Joint Investigation Visit report on the spill incident.

The community leaders, who participated in the JIV to determine the cause of the spill, subsequently declined to sign the report.

The refusal, it was learnt, was due to wide disparity between the impacted areas claimed by Shell and that of the community.

The Chairman, Community Development Committee, Aghoro 1, Mr Victor Akamu, alleged that Shell, in connivance with the JTF, had resorted to force and intimidation.

Akamu said on Monday that the JTF summoned the community leaders to Yenagoa on August 23 to force them to sign the JIV report, which they declined.

He said those from Aghoro were labelled pipeline vandals and profiled into the database of the security outfit.

The CDC chairman said, “We were taken to a room where detailed profiles of us were taken including our finger prints, biometric details and our photographs.

“We were profiled for almost three hours before we were eventually asked to go. I want to know if it is part of the JTF’s job to force a community to sign a JIV report.”

But the JTF and the SPDC denied the allegation of coercing leaders of Aghoro 1 community to sign any report.