24 November 2015, Asaba—Shoreline communities and fisher-persons in the Niger Delta affected by the Shell Nigeria Exploration Company, SNPECo, Bonga oil spill of 2011, have requested President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and the British and Netherlands governments to prevail on Shell to release the $3.6 billon compensation and punitive damage evaluated by the Nigerian government against the company.
The communities, in a statement, yesterday, by the leader/coordinator, F. A. Monday and the Amananawei of Aghoro II, HRM I. Ojukonsin, said: “In line with earlier directives by the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream and House of Representatives Committee on Environment, SNEPCo should provide relief materials to the said victims pending when the money is paid.”
Accusing the company of “nonchalant attitude” to letters from the communities on the said pollutants, they said SNEPCo was continuously delaying and refusing to comply with government directives to settle with the victims.
They warned: “We will no longer tolerate SNEPCo’s actions, which we consider to be a slight on the Nigerian government as well as a calculated attempt to instigate the peace loving victims into protests within the Niger Delta region.”
Expressing disappointment at the attitude of the firm, they recalled that SNEPCo accepted responsibility for 40,000 barrels crude oil spill from its Bonga facility, on November 20, 2011 and the use of harmful chemical dispersants to scatter the oil.
The victims maintained that the said pollutants contaminated ecological resources in the sea, where they carry out their regular fishing activities and caused aquatics to migrate to other areas, thereby depriving them of their sources of livelihood and income.
“We also wish to inform the general public that the said victims that have been identified by the government are not in any court with SNEPCo having voluntarily agreed not to engage in any court case against SNEPCo.
“Also, leaders and representatives of the said victims are prepared to sign undertaking that will indemnify SNEPCo against any loss and/or damages it may incur for any money paid to them with respect to the said pollutants,” they added.