*As 150 communities sensitised on environmental pollution
11 February 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos —Sequel to the 2014 United Nation Environmental Protection Report which recommended public sensitisation on the environmental devastation from pipeline vandalism and illegal crude oil refining to affect areas in Ogoniland in Rivers State, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC has reached close to 150 communities.
The grassroots campaign is implemented in partnership with officials of the Rivers State Government, the National Oil Spill Detection and Remediation Agency (NOSDRA) and community leaders who engage chiefs and elders, youth and women groups as well as opinion and religious leaders among many others. The programme involves open-air meetings which are preceded by publicity campaigns on the electronic media.
“The central message of the campaign is that the criminal act of crude oil theft threatens present and future generations,” said Vincent Nwabueze, Manager of SPDC’s Ogoni Restoration Project.
Nwabueze added that “The 2016 campaign which held between June and October was very successful. Working with an Ogoni-based NGO, we recorded impressive turnout in all the campaign centres with many community people agreeing with the theme of “danger for all and benefit for a few” that crude oil theft represents.
“In a visible demonstration of government support, the Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs personally led one of the campaign sessions. We are grateful for the support of the Government and the communities, and hope that people will take the messages to heart and stop exposing lives and the environment to danger through crude oil theft activities.”
In addition to the campaign against crude oil theft, SPDC commenced a separate LiveWIRE programme for Ogoniland in 2014 with the objective of providing alternative means of livelihood for youths in the area. The pioneer set of 105 beneficiaries graduated in February 2015, and more than 70 percent of them are now successful business owners and employers of labour.