24 November 2014, Yenagoa—Bayelsa State Government and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, have ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to pay N75 million compensation to Biseni communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area impacted by the Adibawa North East 6″ Test Line oil spill.
The government and the regulatory agency threatened more severe sanction should the company fail to pay up before November 30 and also engage an independent team of experts to undertake a comprehensive technical assessment of the impacted area.
It was learnt that the government’s tough posture followed Shell’s alleged refusal to attend a meeting summoned to resolve the protracted issue of the spill.The state government, through the Environment Commissioner, Mr. Inuiro Wills, accused Shell of impunity and refusal to attend series of meetings scheduled to resolve the contentious issues bordering on oil spillages and community protests that had shut down oil exploration activities in the area.
Wills, in a statement in Yenagoa, said the refusal by Shell’s management to send a delegation to the series of peace meetings on the oil spillage had heightened tension in the area and was capable of threatening peace and security of the area.
According to him, the state government had resolved that a thorough clean-up of the impacted area, in line with international best practices, be conducted immediately by a competent firm approved and accredited by the state government and NOSDRA.
Also resolved against Shell, was the payment of N75 million compensation to the impacted communities as earlier decided not later than November 30, 2014 and should Shell fail to meet the deadline, a comprehensive technical assessment of the impacted area would be undertaken by an independent team of experts.
“After a joint pre-assessment visit conducted on October 34, 2014, a meeting was proposed for October 30, 2014. In response to the letter, Shell requested for the rescheduling of the proposed meeting of October 30, on the ground of non-availability of key personnel required for the discussion. As a show of respect, we obliged by rescheduling the meeting to November 18, 2014, about three weeks from the earlier date.
“To our dismay, Shell was the only party that did not turn up for the meeting, with convincing reason for the failure to attend a meeting that was rescheduled at their instance. The team from NOSDRA and various communities representatives all travelled in for the meeting.”