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Friday, May 24, 2024

ERA Chides Shell Over Slow Response To Multiple Spills In Bayelsa

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The Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria has berated the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, for its slow response to multiple crude oil spills in Diebu Creek, Peremabiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Recall that ERA had raised the alarm over fresh oil spills in Peremabiri in early October, while Shell only conducted a JIV a day after the community sent a save-a-soul message on the multiple spills along the Diebu creek, as the oil firm attributed one of the spills to equipment failure and the other tagged inconclusive.

Speaking, the Youth President of Peremabiri community, Benjamin Ebinibo expressed his dissatisfaction over the conducts of Shell and their response to spill issues.

According to Ebinibo, the people of Peremabiri were not known for sabotaging crude oil pipelines and so the leak must have been from faulty Shell equipment. He lamented over the reoccurring spills in their community, and how it has destroyed their environment and collapsed fishing and farming activities, which was their primary source of livelihood.

“Our women who are fishing and farming are unhappy with what is happening to our land and water. This is our means of livelihood. Our traps for fish and crayfish have been affected by the crude oil. Even our fishing nets no longer catch fish, our plantain and cassava farms too have been affected by the oil spill.”

Similarly, the Community Development Chairman of Peremabiri, Basil Young, narrated the neglect suffered by the people as host community and negative impacts of oil spills, and appealed to Shell to clamp its leaking pipeline and to restore the environment. He called on the government to intervene for peace and order in the community.

“It is a pity that since 1957 Shell has been operating in this community, we don’t have anything. No social amenities. We have a cottage hospital, but if you go to that place (the cottage hospital), you will pity the community. No portable water, coastal erosion is eating off the community.

“The spill has affected the community economically, socially and otherwise. Our poor mothers, wives, our children survive through this swamp and the river. We ought to have received relief materials. This spill has been there for some days now; no Shell staff, nobody. We are all here on our own.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Chima Williams, has urged Shell to take immediate action to clean up and restore the environment around Peremabiri community, and tasked NOSDRA and the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment to follow up on spill incidents and ensure clean up and compensation matters are made within reasonable time frame.

Williams further stated that while booming crude oil to prevent spreading on the surface of water was commendable, such actions do not prevent the soluble elements of crude oil to have chemical reaction within the marine ecosystem.

“This is why effective, and prompt clean up should follow booming of crude oil in any marine ecosystem.”

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