30 April 2014, Warri – The people of Agge and its neighbouring communities on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean around Ramos River and its estuaries, mid-stream of Bayelsa and Delta states, have threatened to shut down crude oil export of Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, SEEPCO, if the compensation issue being handled by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, was not urgently resolved.
Chairman of Agge community, Mr. Stephen Fiyepade, who led other members of his executive and a representative of the traditional council to NOSDRA’s zonal office in Warri, Delta State, handed down the warning at a tripartite meeting between the communities, NOSDRA officials and representatives of SEEPCO.
The community leaders, who condemned the delay in the payment of compensation following two oil spills in the community in 2013, called on NOSDRA to facilitate the payment of compensation so that the people of Agge and its environs could recover from the huge losses to their sources of livelihood and consistent pollution of their waters from the operations of the company.
The community alleged that all efforts to get the company to pay the compensation after series of JIVs and damage assessment proved abortive, as the company has continued to find one reason after another to cause delays, including the recent claim that it was awaiting the agency’s final report.
Chief David Omaghomi, the Government and Community Affairs Manager, Marine Operations for Sterling Oil, in a chat, explained that his company complied with all global best practices options available to them at the time.
He said: “We have gone through the mandatory reporting, clean-up and remediation of the impacted sites, provision of relief materials and free medical screening exercise under the guidance of all concerned government bodies and we commend NOSDRA for their professional handling of the incidents.
“We urge the agency to expedite action for an early close-out of this matter and we likewise appeal to the communities to exercise patience and allow due process to be followed.”