Group Demands Accountability From Operators Over Eleme Oil Spill

Group Demands Accountability From Operators Over Eleme Oil Spill
Oil Spill

The incidences of two oil spills reported in Eleme, Rivers State in the last two weeks have drawn the attention of a group known as Oilwatch Africa which has demanded accountability from oil companies operating in Nigeria.

The group lamented that the oil companies appear unserious about ensuring their facilities are in good working conditions.

The two separate oil spills in Eteo and Aleto communities, both in Eleme, came from facilities operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, and the NNPCL Exploration and Production Limited, NEPL, and have destroyed the source of livelihoods as well as the source of fresh water of the local communities.

While Shell only moved in to contain the spills in Aleto a week after the incident occurred on June 11, spilling heavy crude into the Okulu River in Eleme, the oil spills in the Oke-Olebo stream, Eteo from the NEPL facility are yet to be contained more than a week after.

A member of the Oilwatch Steering Committee, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, urged the government and industry regulators to ensure steps were being taken to ensure accountability by offending parties, as well as proper clean-up of polluted lands and payment of compensation to victims for damage suffered.

Bassey, who holds a National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR, for environmental activism, regretted that rather than remediating the harms done by the oil spills, more investments were being made to expand the areas of threat.

He said: “New investments in the fossil fuels sector and incessant new oil spills threaten to push the world into climate catastrophe and expose the wrong-headed pathway taken by nations when they gather at COPs for climate negotiations.

“One of the oil spills was reported from a pipeline owned by Shell in Aleto community on June 13 2023 while another occurred at Eteo from NEPL pipeline on June 18th both in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, in Oke-Olebo stream which is the only source of fresh water for the community.

 “We have always advocated for a cleaner environment and we charge the Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to take into account the new oil spills that threaten to derail the ongoing cleanup process. Steps should be taken to ensure accountability by offending parties.”

Similarly, the Coordinator of Oilwatch Africa, Ms Salome Nduta, expressed dissatisfaction over the action of oil companies in Nigeria and Africa.

“Recently at the just concluded Africa Energy Summit held in the UK, it showed that Africa is not just a geographical location but it is also a cow that should be milked dry for the gains of her captors. Polluters should be held accountable for loss and damage inflicted on communities in Africa,” she stated.

Oilwatch Africa further charged African governments to invest in renewable energy taking into consideration the true cost of extraction which was causing more harm than good to the people.

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