Oscaline Onwuemenyi 26 August 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, has directed Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCO, to pay $3.6 billion to affected communities of the Bonga oil spill.
NOSDRA’s Director-General, Sir Peter Idabor, in a letter to the oil firm, said that the agency imposed a sanction on the company in 2014 for the damage done to the natural resources and means of livelihood by the spill since 2011.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the Head/Deputy Director, Public Affairs Unit in Abuja, Idabor said the company did not make any attempt to provide relief materials for the shoreline fishing communities with respect to the acute and chronic impact of the crude oil on the environment.
“Despite the fact that the incident was caused by equipment failure and the admission by the then Managing Director that 40,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the Atlantic Ocean, no attempt was made by the oil company to provide relief materials for the shoreline fishing communities with respect to the acute and chronic impact of the crude oil on the environment.
“NOSDRA DG, Sir Peter Idabor, has directed SNEPCO to pay the sum of $3,600,191,206.00 or its Naira equivalent as compensation and administrative costs for failure to effect clean up on the impacted site within the stipulated period, as provided in the agency’s Act and Regulations.
“NOSDRA in 2014 issued a notification of sanction to the oil company with regard to the Bonga spill incident but it has yet neither paid compensation to the affected shoreline communities nor provided relief materials to them, as directed by the Agency and the House Committee on Environment.
“Meanwhile, by virtue of the latest reminder on the notification of sanction on the spill incident, NOSDRA has directed SNEPCO to pay the said fine and compensation, or face the legal machinery available to the Agency to ensure its compliance,” it said.
Contacted via text message for comments, a Shell spokesperson in Nigeria, said he had nothing to say on the matter.