Shell Exit: Ogoni group insists it must pay for damages, pollution —

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By Kingsley Chukwuka

A group under the agies of Ogoni Libration Initiative, has said Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), will pay for the damages and air pollution done to the Ogoni environment.

President of the Group, Dr. Fabeke Douglas stated this on Thursday in a statement while reacting to Shell’s onshore exit from the Niger Delta.

Recall that Shell on Wednesday opened a discussion with the Nigerian government after concluding that its onshore oil position in the Niger Delta is no longer worth the risk.

The Chief Executive of Shell Nigeria, Mr. Ben Beurden had said its local unit has divested around 50pc of its onshore Nigeria portfolio over the past 10 years as it grapples with long-running and persistent challenges of crude theft and pipeline sabotage, which it blames for oil spills.

“When law and order breaks down, when sabotage and theft is rife where you try to operate, no amount of effort that we put in can actually try to compensate for that” Beurden said.

Reacting to Shell’s position, Fabeke said the SPDC has just realized that remaining in the Niger Delta does not worth it after they have tapped all their resources and polluted their environment.

“They must pay for the damages caused on our land: You just need to take a tour to understand the magnitude of the environmental abuse. Ogoni used to be green, you could go to farm or fish.

We used to have very impressive harvests. You would spend just an hour in the water and you have a lot of fish. Today, you can spend the whole day without catching anything.

“Oil was first pumped in Ogoni in 1956 by Shell. Since then, several international oil companies have extracted oil from across the Niger Delta.

“In Ogoni and elsewhere, communities have faced an environmental catastrophe. About 40 million litres of oil are spilled every year across the Niger Delta.

“Air, land and water have all been contaminated, with studies reporting devastating effects on residents’ health and livelihoods.

Vast areas of the state’s waterways and mangrove swamps, one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa have been destroyed or put at risk.

“Farmland has been cloaked in oil, contaminating crops and exposing people to high levels of heavy metals such as chromium, lead and mercury among others”, Fabeke said.

Our correspondent reports that Shell did not explicitly say that it would exit onshore Nigeria completely or give a timeline for any potential asset sales.

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Read the Source post on Daily Times Nigeria.