Warri Shoreline communities in Bayelsa, Delta and Ondo states affected by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo’s, 2011 oil spill at Bonga, have given the company a three-day ultimatum to commence and conclude the agreed joint dialogue of multiple stakeholders, as ordered by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment or face their wrath.
The over 350 shoreline communities with a population of over 2 million persons, in an open letter to the federal government, United Nations and SNEPCo, signed by Chief Beimonyo Wolo, representing Brass Local Government, Bayelsa and 14 others, said: “The shoreline communities and fishermen are, by this notice, unanimously invoking the ultimatum given by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment directing SNEPCo to ensure that benefits due to communities and fishermen affected by the Bonga oil spill are discussed, agreed upon and signed by all parties (NOSDRA, NIMASA, DPR, NGOs, SNEPCo) and the representatives of affected communities.
“SNEPCo is, hereby, given three clear days to conclude the agreed joint dialogue meeting with NOSDRA, NIMASA, DPR, NGOs, SNEPCo and attorneys of the shoreline communities, and the meeting shall be led/chaired by Hon. members of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment as directed. Failure to do so would lead to serious resistance by the communities and fisher persons.”
Alleging that the multinational oil company was dealing with fake agents of the shoreline communities and sidetracking their recommended attorney/negotiator, they insisted that for the avoidance of doubt, their advocate in respect of any negotiation or resolution relating to the Bonga oil spill was Gbutse Property Limited.
“It is also on record that the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives, Federal Ministry of Environment, NOSDRA, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NIMASA, SNEPCo, affected States and Local Governments, etc, have been writing and meeting with Gbutse Property Limited on behalf of the shoreline communities, satellite villages and fisher persons in respect of the Bonga Oil Spill,” they added.
The aggrieved communities and fishermen called on President Goodluck Jonathan, the United Nations, well-meaning and corporate citizens world-wide, “to intervene and/or prevail on SNEPCo’s management to follow due process (as directed by the National Assembly and other Nigerian government agencies) to compensate the communities and fisher-persons for damages and injuries suffered as a result of the said Bonga oil spill and avoid acts of inciting communities against themselves which is already causing tensions and agitation within the affected areas.