Ramos River Oil Spill: Communities spoil for fight with Shell

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The people of Agge, Kandaghan and Ekogbene communities in Bayelsa state are spoiling for a fight with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over issues arising from the May 17 crude oil spill from the company’s Trans-Ramos Pipeline.

The communities expressed displeasure at SPDC’s response and management of the spill, and threatening to stop the ongoing repair work on the strategic pipeline, if their communities are not carried along and provided relief materials.

IN a joint press release by the leaders of the clans, they claimed that SPDC “deliberately delayed the mandatory Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the spill site and it took two weeks for the SPDC to agree to provide logistics for NOSDRA and the other regulators to visit the spill site.” 

It accused the agencies of following SPDC on a ‘guided tour’, without recourse to extant law and sincerity in ascertaining the extent of the damages, despite its letters to NOSDRA notifying it on the spill and the need to carry out a timely JIV.

“This so-called JIV, which for all intents and purpose was to ascertain the cause, extent of the spill, volume of the spill and delineation of the impacted communities, has remained inconclusive because SPDC is the one to pick and choose communities impacted by her oil spillage.”

SPDC’s Bamidele Odugbesan, told newsmen it was too early for the communities to cry foul, stressing, “We all know that JIV is a process involving regulators, government, operators, the communities and others, who will all sign off the outcome in a final report.

“It would not be right to raise allegations when the process has not been concluded. It is the report signed by all the parties that will determine the genuineness of allegations and provide resolutions too,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the communities queried the use of helicopter to overfly and delineate the impacted communities against the provisions of the NOSDRA Act and Regulations.

“Again, SPDC by her whims has singlehandedly chosen to provide relief materials to the community which has the spill point leaving out all other communities that share the same body of water, which is the River Ramos, into which volumes of crude oil spilled.

“It should be on record that the spillage was on the Ramos River and all communities within and about the river have the same impact; none has a lesser impact than the other.

By Brakerebina Birinimighan

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