May 12, 2011

Ogoni: Community Files New Law Case Against Shell

After a recent oil spill destroyed their farm lands and fishing grounds, the people of Bodo in the Gokana area of the Niger Delta decided to take Shell to court for its gross negligence of this problem

Below is an article published by AllAfrica: 

The people of Bodo in Gokana local government area of Rivers State have dragged the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to court following a recent spill from its Trans-Niger pipelines which has destroyed farm lands and fishing settlement in the area. 

The people allege that Shell's inability to properly clean up an oil spill that occurred between 2008 and 2009 was responsible for the leakage from one of the firm's pipelines which traverse many states in the Niger Delta. 

The Ogoni community further alleged that it took the firm over a year to fix the broken pipeline which later leaked again thereby destroying the economic life of people in the people. 

Commenting on the development, Information officer of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) Bariala Kpalap said it was "insulting" for Shell in its response to the distress call of the people brought various food items. 

Kpalap in a telephone interview with our correspondent questioned the wisdom behind the provision of 50 bags of food stuff to a community of about 69 people while trying to shy away from the reality of finding a permanent solution to the devastating environment occasioned by Shell's "incessant" oil spills. 

He confirmed the legal action being taken by the Bodo community, adding that "few backs of food stuff is not a solution and can not assuage the suffering of the people. The oil spill occurred as a result of recklessness on the part of Shell. 

"It is not a matter of relief materials, we need a proper evaluation of the devastation to include the destroyed farm crops and many more. This must reflect the reality of the actual situation on ground". 

He said the people of the Niger Delta region have experienced about 13 million barrels of spills from various oil companies operating in the region over the years, yet people who are directly affected by this menace have not been adequately compensated by these companies. 

The MOSOP spokesman flayed Shell's recent reaction that most of the spills in the Niger Delta were due to a third party interference with its facilities. 

The company claimed that sabotage alone accounted to about 75 per cent of oil spill, saying it has in turn caused some degree of devastation to the environment. 

The anglo dutch oil giant further said last year the company suffered 3,500 tones in the Niger Delta.