OML 25: We’ll Continue to Resist Shell, Host Communities Vow

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Olaoluwakitan Babatunde

Residents of Belema and Offoin-Ama communities in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State have vowed to continue their resistance against Shell Petroleum Development Company’s continued operations in their area. 

The host communities to the Oil Mining Lease 25, operated by SPDC said the international oil exploration company had polluted their environment in the course of their operations, since 1980, without any remediation plan.

Speaking on behalf of the Offoin-Ama Council of Chiefs during a visit by a fact finding delegation of Civil Society organisations, led by Dr Austin Tam-George to the host communities, Chief-elect Mpakabuari Welsch, said Shell had rather brought misery to his people, hence must be resisted. 

He however called for the United Nations intervention in their struggle to evict Shell from their communities.

 “Shell has destroyed the marine life of our community, and has plunged our people into a life of destitution. In the past 40 years, Shell has brought only destruction and misery here and they (Shell) don’t have a comprehensive environmental remediation plan to clean up the poisoned food and water sources in our villages.”

 In his remarks, the Amayanabo of Offoin-Ama Community, King Sukubo Aaron Ofia called for an independent enquiry to investigate the environmental impact of Shell’s exploration activities over the past four decades, adding that the community has nothing positive to show as a host community to the oil company.

 OML 25 platform has been occupied by the women of Belema community in a daily protest against the pollution and neglect of the community by the oil giant.

Addressing the leaders, Tam-George, who was former Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, thanked the communities for not resorting to violence in their quest for justice.

He called on the State governor, Nyesom Wike to urgently visit the communities, and provide schools, healthcare, drinking water and other basic services.