200 Olomoro villagers occupy Shell flowstation

Emma Amaize

13 November 2011, Sweetcrude, WARRI- OVER 200 members of the host Awhakia family of Olomoro community in Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State have besieged the Olomoro Flowstation, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, with canopy and chairs in protest, demanding that the oil company should implement the terms of agreement reached with them.

The protesters who occupied the flow station said they would not leave until the company swung into action in respect of payment of adequate compensation, environmental clean-up, proper community development projects, creation of good and harmonious working relationship with the families.

Their spokesmen, Mr. Sunday Iderike and Godday Egbogbo said over the years, the company had taken the family for granted because of its peaceful disposition, adding, “We are sad over SPDC’s lukewarm attitude and deliberate refusal to implement the resolution reached since October 2010. The company’s stand is clearly an invitation to confrontation”.

“There have been regular oil spill incidents here in Olomoro Compressor Station since 2001. As we are talking to you now, another one has just occurred on the same spot; the soldiers and mobile police men on guard here are witnesses…They have just come from the spot it happened this morning… Shell should stop deceiving us,” they said.

Wondering why the company was yet to obey the 2010 peace treaty reached by the family, SPDC, Federal Ministry of Environment, security agencies and Isoko South Local Government Council in respect of the family land, where it is operating, they stated, “Our patience has been exhausted since the company is shying away from cleaning up the impacted land and compensating owners of the land”.

The family asserted that SPDC has continually violated the agreement between the two parties in respect of the disputed land, which company has been carrying on its operations since 1963, adding that backing out of the agreement was not the solution.

When contacted, an environmental expert and consultant to Awhakia family, Dr. George Idodo Umeh, said SPDC had no option than to obey the advice of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

He observed that spillage had occurred severally on , adding, “The regular spillage occurrence in the same spot is being caused by frequent equipment failure; the company should not be rigid, but must try as much as possible, and as a matter of good policy, update its technology in that direction so as t save lives”.

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