Bonga Oil Spill ​c​om​munities ​​seek ways of compelling Shell to pay claims

Fishermen operating along the Atlantic coastline, ​affected by the December 2011 Bonga oil spill, have dismissed reports that they have pending litigation on the spill.

An oil spill from an offshore field operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company discharged some 40,000 barrels of crude and polluted the Atlantic, compelling fishermen to desert the sea.

The House of Representatives and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency had in December 2014 recommended a compensation of $3.96 billion for victims of the incident.

Howells Levi, paramount ruler of Olobia community at Koluama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa​ State,​ told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday in Yenagoa that Shell had remained adamant despite directives by ​the ​regulators.

The monarch noted that ​the ​refusal ​of​ the company to pay $3.96 billion compensation directed by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency was unacceptable.

He also explained that the​ affect​ed communities have resolved to review their strategies to pursue their claims with the oil firm and will embark on their next line of action following the adamant posture of Shell.

He debunked allegations that there were pending litigations with SNEPCO on the spill incident.

“Pursuant to SNEPCo’s recent letter to NOSDRA stating that SNEPCo is not ready to settle the Bonga oil spill compensation amicably because some persons took SNEPCO to court​,​” he said.

“The claims are untrue and to the best of our knowledge, we all embraced the procedure adopted by the federal government regulatory agencies led by NOSDRA, we are not in court over this spill incident.

“At the beginning of the House of Reps and NOSDRA’s initiative we withdrew all cases on Bonga spill incident to pave way for settlement by regulators, that claim of litigation is not current as all cases were withdrawn over a year ago.”

Precious Okolobo, Head of Media Relations in Shell declined comments when contacted for reactions and neither responded to enquiries on the Bonga Spill incident by email.


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