15 September 2015, Lagos – The Shell Petroleum Development Company has urged the Federal Government to halt the activities of petroleum pipeline vandals and illegal crude refiners in Ogoniland, to make the planned clean-up of the area a success.
Quoting the United Nations Environment Programme report, the oil major said treating the problem of environmental contamination within the space merely as a technical clean-up would ultimately lead to failure.
Shell stressed that ensuring long-term sustainability was a much bigger challenge, that is one that would require coordinated and collaborative action from all stakeholders.
This position was made known by the company’s General Manager, Sustainable Development and Community Relations, Mr. Igo Weli, at a session with newsmen.
Weli said, “This must include putting an end to the widespread pipeline sabotage, crude oil theft and illegal refining that cause environmental damage in Ogoniland and the wider Niger Delta today.
“Shell companies in Nigeria will continue to be at the forefront engaging interested stakeholders and seeking sustainable innovative ways to resolve the problem.”
The SPDC Joint Venture said it suspended oil production in Ogoniland in 1993 due to access denial.
The UNEP report, published in August 2011, made recommendations to the government, SPDC JV and communities to begin a comprehensive clean-up of Ogoniland, restore polluted environments and put an end to all forms of ongoing oil contamination in the region.
Shell said it had set up the Ogoni Restoration Project Team as a direct response to the UNEP report, while working with the government on emergency measures and all actions directed at it.
“SPDC has initiated moves to implement all the 22 actions directed to it by the UNEP report. 16 actions have been completed. Five actions are currently ongoing, which include relocation of Right-of-Way encroaches; decommissioning, among others,” Weli said.