Port Harcourt — Reactions have continued to trail the reported involvement of staff and contractors of the Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited, SPDC in oil spills, sabotage and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region, for personal gains
Recall that a documentary aired by a Dutch Television, Zembla in collaboration with an environmental rights group, Milieudefensie, reported that Nigerian employees of Shell orchestrate oil spills and vandalism of assets for personal profit.
Although SPDC has dismissed the report, saying that the allegations lack evidence, but stakeholders have said that it was shameful that Shell staff and contractors would engaged in pipeline vandaliism and pollute the environment for selfish interests.
Environmentalists and stakeholders said incessant pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region, can only be sustained through the active connivance of players in the industry and those with the authority to ensure cover-ups.
Renowned environmentalist, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, said the the Dutch report did not come as a surprise to him, as oil theft and sabotage are not things that could be done undetected.
Bassey who decried the level of impunity in the oil fields, opined that SPDC denial of its staff involvement in sabotage for personal profit, should be taken with a dose of salt.
According to him, “Although Shell has denied it, the report didn’t come as a surprise to some of us.
“The level of impunity in the oil fields can only be sustained through the active connivance of players in the industry and others who have the authority to ensure cover-ups.
“NOSDRA recently reported that in 2018 and 2019 there were an average of five oil spills a day with a total of 1,300 spills.
“That is not something that can be done and kept under the radar and undetected.
“The corporations regularly under-report incidents, so if they say they don’t sabotage their own facilities we are bound to take such denials with a healthy dose of salt.”
For his part, an environmental justice activist, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said the report was an eye-opener and has revealed a major gap in literature and knowledge about causes of some of the multiple oil spills that was devastating the Niger Delta environment.
Fyneface who is the Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, YEAC, said SPDC dismissing the report was not enough.
“While knowledge about this finding is not entirely new to me as an environmental justice activist and with over 10years experience campaigning against environmental pollution and proposing alternative employment opportunities for youths involved in artisanal crude oil refining activities.
“There is need for Shell not to stop at saying that ‘as of now, we are not aware of any staff or contractor having been involved in acts causing oil spills in the Niger Delta’ but go further to launch a forensic investigation into this damning allegation against them.
“So that we can further get to know the causes of our problems and multiple oil spills that devastate the Niger Delta environment and destroy means of livelihoods of fishermen and farmers and bring the perpetrators to book.
“It is shameful that Shell staff and contractors would allegedly create jobs and profits for themselves by engaging youths to vandalize pipelines and pollution our environment for their selfish interests.
“In all, we must join hands and work towards the identification of causes of oil spills in the Niger Delta, block all such loopholes and save our fragile environment from further devastation with its high implication of the health, livelihoods and local economy of the indigenous peoples of the Niger Delta.”