- MOSOP calls for evacuation of residents to forestall deaths
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited has confirmed a fresh oil spill at a facility operated by NNPC/SPDC/TotalEnergies/NAOC Joint Venture in Eleme, Ogoni axis of Rivers State.
THISDAY gathered that the incident first occurred on June 11, 2023, and it affected about six communities in the area.
The affected communities included: Ogale, Aleto, Agbonchia, Onne, Okpaku, and Alesa all in Eleme local government area of Ogoni. It was also observed that the spill affected residential areas, farmlands and the surrounding waters.
A statement by Shell spokesperson, Michael Adande, disclosed that the Joint Venture and other stakeholders have commenced investigation to unravel the cause of the incident.
He said “We are working closely with a multi-stakeholder Joint Investigation Visit team led by the regulators, Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), in collaboration with Rivers State Ministry of Environment and community representatives, as the investigation into the cause and impact of the incident progresses.”
The SPDC further revealed that the company’s Emergency Response and Spill Response teams have been activated, subject to safety requirements, to mobilise to the site to take actions that may be necessary for the safety of environment, people and equipment.
He expressed the company’s promise to, “continue to provide updates as new information emerges, and we appreciate the understanding and support of the community at this time.”
Meanwhile, a factional leadership of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has lamented the huge effect of the incident on the affected communities.
The factional President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke, who hinted that homes and farmlands have been destroyed as a result of the spill, calls for evacuation of residents to forestall records of deaths in the area.
Nsuke, called the spill another testament of Shell’s alleged falsehood and revealed that multinational had secretly been operating its facilities in Ogoni.
He said: “If Shell claims that it is not operating the oilfields secretly in Ogoni, then how come we have such massive oil spills that affects several communities and have contaminated massive lands and waters in the area?”
The MOSOP leader regretted that there had been much insincerity on the part of oil multinational in the handling of and decommissioning of its facilities in Ogoni and called on the Nigerian authorities to introduce more severe penalties for oil spill cases and environmental pollution.
“Environment pollution has been encouraged in Nigeria because there are little or no consequences for the polluters. “This is something the government should strongly consider in the light of present realities where people’s lives are altered by constant pollution and no one is held to account,” Nsuke said.