Oil spill: 64 Itsekiri communities demand meeting with Shell

Emma Amaize
& Akpokona Omafuaire

05 January 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – ABOUT 64 Itsekiri communities in Warri South West and Warri North Local Government Areas of Delta State affected by oil spill, which they supposed, emanated from last December’s spillage from the Bonga Oil Field, have proposed a meeting with the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to discuss modalities for assessment, clean up and relief materials to the victims.

Among the communities are Ilesami 1 and 11, Otumara, Aje-Edede, Akpakpa-Eyitsede, Ajokorugbo, Oguwan, Egbe-Okuta, Ugogoro, Ogidigben, Ajudaibo, Okegbe, Oboro, Madangho, Ogheye-Uton, Ogheye-Idimigun Ajokoro, Ajibeku, Ajimaki, Ubala-tie and Orere. They want to parley with the company on January 9.

A senior official of SPDC, who spoke to Vanguard, however, said, “It is not true that December 20 oil leak from Bonga Field, which had been contained spread to 64 communities in Delta state. If they are talking about spillage from another place, that is a different thing, but certainly, not from Bonga oil field”.

According to him, “Shell is prepared at anytime for dialogue with the oil communities and will address the issue. But what I can say is that some people think they can use the opportunity of the Bonga oil field leak to arm-twist the company”.

In the letter the managing directors of SPDC and SNEPCO on behalf of the affected communities, the secretary/legal adviser of Gbutse Property Limited, Stella Ozoma Esq claimed that the Bonga Field oil spillage has disturbed economic activities of the communities.

According to her, “Our clients asked us to inform you that your oil spillage at Bonga Field that occurred on 20th December 2011 flowed to their villages and fishing areas, and thereafter disturbed their fishing activities, stained their fishing materials, vegetations, killed aquatic lives”.

“Some of the oil spillage which your people dispersed with chemicals caused turbidity within our clients fishing areas and also formed tire balls which were taken to our client’s shores by sea currents”, she stated.

The statement added that the affected communities earlier thought that the oil spillage was from a Chevron facility, but further investigation confirmed that the oil spillage was from SPDC Bonga oil field facility and the spill might be over 40,000 barrels.

“Consequently, we and our clients are proposing to meet with you on the 9th January, 2012 at 9.30am in your office. The purpose of the meeting is to among other things agree on a date and time, when your team and ours will jointly enumerate the damage or injury caused to our clients’ trees, land, fishing materials and disturbance of fishing activities as a result of the effects of your said oil spillage at Bonga field,” the solicitor asserted.

The letter was copied the Senate Committee on Environment, Delta State House of Assembly Committee on Environment, Federal Ministry of Environment, Delta State Ministry of Environment, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, Department of Petroleum Resources, oil Spill, Response and Claims and Legal Departments of SPDC.

Youth President of Ugbege Community, Mr. Fredrick Asin, who spoke on behalf Ugborodo and other coastal communities in Warri South West and North Local Government Areas said his people were suffering as a result of the negative impact of the oil spillage, adding that they would explore every avenue of dialogue for which Itsekiri people were known for.

His words, “If they refuse to heed to this call for peaceful dialogue, we will carry out enumeration and assessment of damage and thereafter demand for compensation. And let me put it also that after all avenue for dialogue expire without fruitful result, disturbances will be inevitable.”

About the Author