Esther Abiola – Yenagoa
A community in Bayelsa State, Agoro 1, has accused Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of neglecting them after an oil spillage.
Lead Consultant to the community, Furoebi Akene, said in a statement that Shell’s failure to proffer solution to the situation, constituted environmental and human rights abuses against them. He accused the firm of harassing and intimidating them to compel the people to sign a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report, which it surreptitiously prepared without considering the realities on ground.
According to the people, SPDC officials have failed to do the needful, since the spill occurred over five months ago, but have been using military personnel to intimidate the community.
They further accused the firm of ignoring the environmental standards put in place by regulating agencies as the Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
Akene disclosed that the spill occurred around Agoro section of the Trans Ramos pipeline in May 2018, while and the joint investigation visit took place from May 25 to 29, 2018.He explained that the JIV report showed that the incident was caused by instrument failure, which is the rupture of pipe as a result of corrosion.
He added that the crude oil spilled into Ramos River, creeks and swamps across a large expanse.Spokesman for SPDC, Bamidele Odugesan, who acknowledged the incident, said they had recovered over 95 percent of the spilled oil from the sections of the Trans Ramos Pipeline in Aghoro, as well as from Odimodi community in Delta State.
He said: “Over five months since the spill occurred, no cleanup and remediation measures had been taken till date. SPDC has frustrated efforts by NOSDRA for the parties involved to begin a joint post impact survey and assessment.”
The community also raised fears over the associated health concerns and environmental degradation.
They urged the Managing Director and Country Chairman of SPDC in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, and the current SPDC Vice Chairman for Nigeria and Gabon Mr. Peter Costello, to call their workers to order.
Spokesman for SPDC, Bamidele Odugesan, who acknowledged the incident, said they had recovered over 95 percent of the spilled oil from the sections of the Trans Ramos Pipeline in Aghoro, as well as from Odimodi community in Delta State.
While denying the allegation of using military to harass the people, he said the company would begin the remediation of the impacted areas, as soon as cleanup and site assessment are completed.