Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nembe community demands $1bn from Agip, Shell

Published:

[Photo: www.ipsnews.net]

The community wrote a petition to the United Nations.

The Paramount Ruler and elders of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa, have petitioned the United Nations over alleged destructive oil exploration activities by the international oil majors, Shell and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC) in Nembe Kingdom.

The News Agency of Nigeria learnt that the community is demanding $1 billion (N158 billion) from the oil companies as compensation for “years of destruction on its environment”.

The petition dated April 16, was signed by the Chairman of Nembe Kingdom Oil and Gas Committee, Nengi James, and Secretary, Francis Furo.

The community claimed that the years of oil exploration in the kingdom had provoked incessant cases of destructive gas flaring, wanton pollution, and diseases from oil spillage and dumping of industrial wastes.

According to the community, although Nembe Kingdom accounts for over 200,000 barrels of oil per day, the kingdom lacks electricity and potable water, due to pollution of water ways and creeks in the area.

They alleged that the companies not only denied them employment but also compensation for the environmental degradation being unleashed on their environment, which had negatively impacted the fishing population.

“We, the people of Nembe Kingdom, have cause to cry out loud to you because we are seriously aggrieved over the shoddy treatment meted to us by the oil companies operating in our land.

“If we fail to call your attention to our plight now, there is the likelihood that we may not be able to tell our story after some years as we may have been slowly exterminated by the effects of oil spills, gas flaring and improper disposal of toxic wastes and materials in our kingdom.

“Therefore, it becomes imperative for us to alert the world body of our predicament before it becomes too late. As a result of gas flaring, frequent oil spillage and dumping of industrial toxic wastes, the life span of the average Nembe man and woman has been drastically reduced to 40 years.

“This is just too low and calls for serious investigation,” the petition read.

The community also called for an environmental audit of land, rivers, creeks, streams, oil spill sites, toxic waste dumping sites and air quality test, to determine the level of toxicity caused by oil exploration in Nembe.

(NAN)

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