Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Oil Spill Victims Initiative (OSPIVV) has threatened to sue the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the discovery of a four-kilometre pipeline being used to siphon crude oil to rogue vessels on a platform on the high seas.
Also, the Coalition of Niger Deltans has urged the people of South-south to cooperate with Tantita Security Services Limited, operated by former warlord of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Deltan (MEND) Chief Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a Tompolo) in its fight against crude oil theft.
The Executive Director of OSPIVV, Prince Harrison Jalla disclosed the plan at a session with journalists yesterday, noting that the organisation had already given instruction to its lawyers to file a lawsuit against Shell and NNPCL for the heist that crippled the nation’s economy.
He stated that the court action would reveal how SPDC, NNPCL and other International Oil Companies (IOCs) were responsible for the extensive oil theft that had been occurring in the Niger Delta.
Jalla disclosed that the purpose of the lawsuit was to recoup all funds related to the illegal four-kilometre secret crude oil pipeline that had been used illegally for nine years to steal crude oil from Nigeria.
According to the executive director, there are numerous reports of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta. But we are particularly interested in the theft of crude oil from the Forcados terminal.
He explained that nobody could pinpoint when or where it began, but for the past nine years, they have been stealing our oil heritage.
He said: “We want to start by holding NNPC and SPDC accountable for the oil theft and the atrocities committed against the Niger Delta people.
“We will take on the NNPCL and SPDC. We have already briefed our external solicitors to file action. So many IOCs will be called on account for this heist, but we want to start with the Shell Group because there is no way crude oil could be piped from those terminals without the involvement of those running the terminal.”
Also at the session, a consultant in environmental law, Hosanna Jalogho-Williams said apart from oil theft, the issue of environmental degradation and the ecological effect of the oil heist on the inhabitants of the area was one of the reasons they had decided to go to court.
Jalogho-Williams said that the court would determine the value of the oil stolen over the years and the ecological effect of the theft itself.
The consultant added that the theft of the oil in the years under review and any spill it might have caused are the issues that would be brought before the court to determine.
In a statement by its Chairman, Tareware Tamarapreye and Secretary, Meshach Bebenimibo yesterday, CND commended President Muhammadu Buhari for awarding the surveillance contract to Tompolo’s firm.
The organisation urged the president to provide the necessary support in ensuring the success of the assignment given to their leader.
The statement recalled the strings of achievements by Tompolo’s firm recently with the discovery of a four-kilometre illegal oil pipeline and another over the weekend where crude oil were stolen for export.
It added that the operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited recently discovered major tapping points on the Trans-Ramos Forcados/Ramos pipeline and last weekend another through which international oil companies, security officials and oil bunkers and locals have colluded to bleed the country over the years.
“This achievements are commendable and need the cooperation of every one. Aside the successes of the firm within a short period, the coalition also acknowledges the employment opportunities created with Tompolo employing over 20,000 youths to be part of the national assignment entrusted on him.
“We the coalition of Niger Deltans therefore urged the federal government and NNPCL to increase the awarded contract from N4 billion to N17 billion monthly to enable him empower and employ more youths to secure our oil and gas facilities.”