Bonga Oil Spill Victims, Communities Threaten to Occupy Shell Facilities 

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

There is palpable tension among oil workers in Shell facilities in the Niger Delta as a group under the aegis of Concerned Bonga Oil Spill Victims and Impacted Communities (CBOSIC), yesterday, issued a fresh threat to occupy facilities of the Shell Exploration And Production Company Ltd (SNEPCO).

The moves followed the expiration of an earlier 14-Day ultimatum and seven days notice given to the company to address their demands.

A statement signed by President of the group, Mike Tiemo, and Secretary, Gbigbi Nelson, issued in Warri, Delta State, said they were ready to take their destiny in their own hands and in lawful manner.

CBOSIC said that having duly informed all security agencies in Nigeria in line with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, they would proceed to occupy Shell facilities on a peaceful protest march from July 18th 2023.

The group had on May 20, 2023, demanded that Shell pays the sum of $3.6 billion to all the impacted communities and victims of the Bonga Oil Spill.

The incident had occurred on December 20, 2011 while an oil tanker was being loaded at the company’s Bonga oil field, 120 kilometres off the Delta coast. It is estimated that 40,000 barrels of crude oil leaked during that time.

The group further said that they have written a letter to Shell notifying the company about their plans to occupy their facilities from July 18th 2023.

The letter titled, ‘Re: Pay Compensation Of $3, 600, 191,206.00 To Impacted Communities And Victims Of Bonga Oil Spill Within 14 Days’, reads; “Thank you for your letter of 22nd June 2023. We were very clear and unambiguous in our demand letter of 20th May 2023 that we do not believe in litigation with the Shell group.

“The Shell group concocted a ‘Mystery Spill’ to avoid liability from the outset of the Bonga Spill incident. Whatever has happened or happening in the courts does not concern us in CBOSIC.

“All we are saying is enough of taking undue advantage of the weak regulatory institutions, corrupt Judicial system and a federal government that cannot take the well-being of its citizens as priority to continue to pollute, devastate our land and oppress our people.

“If Nigeria was a serious country the Shell group would have been expelled long time ago. Why was it that the Shell group could not challenge the United States regulatory authority in the Gulf of Mexico spill?

“The tissues of lies contained in your letter dated June 22nd 2023 as response to our letter of demand dated 20th May 2023 notwithstanding, we move to exercise our constitutional right as stated in our notice dated 19th of June 2023 to occupy your facilities from July 18th 2023.

“Enough is enough, it is time to call out the Shell group for the criminal atrocities on our land in the name of oil exploration without a human face,” it added.

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