Bonga Oil Spill: N’Delta Communities Protest SPDC’s Failure to $3.6bn Compensation

 Sylvester Idowu in Warri 

The Indigenes of Concerned Bonga Oil Spill and Impacted Communities (CBOSIC) yesterday threatened to occupy oil platforms belong to Shell Petroleum Developed Company (SPDC) on the high sea over alleged refusal to pay $3.6 billion damages for the spill that occurred in Bonga communities on December 20, 2011.

The indigenes gave the warning during a peaceful protest staged in front of SPDC Ogunu Operational Office in Warri, Delta State.

The protesters marched from Elf Road to SPDC Main Gate, displaying placards with inscriptions: “Shell, our land is polluted. No fish in our rivers again. Shell, stop polluting our land. Shell, clean up our environment.”

Other placards read thus: “Shell Group Oil Defies International Best Practice. Pay Bonga oil Spill Compensation Now. Shell Group Worse of IOCs in Nigeria. Shell, stop your evil practice on us. Shell must clean up. Remediate and restore our land.”

The threat was in furtherance of the push being championed by the Oil Spill Victims’ Vanguard, which according to the indigenes, had been challenging SPDC on the matter in a UK Court.

The Executive Director of OSPIVV, Prince Harrison Jalla, has been in the forefront of the struggle since 2011 when the devastating spill occurred.

During the protest, Environmental Right Activist, Prince Hosanna Jalagho-Williams said SPDC was liable to pay the concerned oil spill impacted communities $3.2billion or $6.2billion compensations.

He accused SPDC of conniving with some federal government officials to reap the people of their compensation adding that they were giving Shell 14 days, from July 31 to meet their demands or face shutting down the country’s platforms on the high sea and other major operational facilities within CBOSIC in the Niger Delta.

Jalagho-Williams said: “SPDC operations have brought health challenges to the people of the Niger Delta, resulting in pregnant women giving birth to deformed children due to inhaling of harmful gaseous substances.”

On his part, the Chairman of Bonga Oil Spill Impacted Communities, Mr. Mike Tiemo pledged that the protest would continue until they occupy SPDC platforms.

Tiemo recalled that the oil multinational complied in similar situations in Gulf of Mexico and other American coasts whereas Shell remains defiant when it comes to the demand by CBOSIC.

Two women in the affected communities, Comfort Yaye and Beauty Prebor, who spoke with journalists, urged SPDC to pay the compensation or get ready for disruption of their operations.

In its letter dated May 20 and addressed to the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, CBOSIC said SPDC had been a curse for decades to the environment and people of the Niger-Delta. From Ogoni to Escravos, Forcados and Bayelsa.

The letter said: “It has been tales of woe in oil exploration, without a human face. The Shell group has been the most detested amongst the IOCs in Nigeria and the weakest link in terms of relationship with their host communities.”

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