By Hassan Zaggi
The Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, has said that Shell owed the environment and the people of the Niger Delta region a huge ecological debt for its ‘reckless operations’ in the region over the last seven decades.
Dr. Ojo further said that Shell is running away from accountability for its ruinous actions in the Niger Delta region and amounts to eating your cake and having it.
In a statement, Dr. Ojo called on the Nigerian state to protect local communities’ interest within the divestment process of oil and gas multinational companies operating in the Niger Delta region and halt Shell’s attempt to run away from its mess without proper clean up of the Niger Delta.
ERA/FoEN has, therefore, strongly deplored what it described the recent disclosure that Shell has concluded plans to sell its land based and shallow offshore oil fields and infrastructures in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
A statement signed by Mike Karikpo, Programmes Director of ERA, noted that whilst it has been at the forefront of campaigns to leave the oil in the soil and to halt oil and gas extraction, it strongly deplores the insensitivity of the transnational corporation that has over the last few years been divesting from the region, collecting huge payouts for the oil fields and infrastructure sold and leaving local communities to deal with the devastation and destruction of the ecosystem, their lives and livelihoods.
Mike Karikpo, commended the local communities in Ibeno, noting that the oil multinationals operating in Nigeria have always ensured that communities and groups who institute legal cases against them go through the harrowing experience of a long and difficult walk to justice.
“It will be recalled that this suit against Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited was instituted in 2012 and after 9 long years our courts of justice have finally delivered its verdict,” he said.
On his part, a community leader and critic of Shell in the Niger Delta region, Mr Eraks Kobah, descrided “Shell as a criminal enterprise that is only interested in maximizing profit”.
He states further that his community has been in court with Shell for decades over the major oil blowout and destruction of the environment and the community’s sources of livelihood around the Bomu manifold in Kdere in the Ogoni area of Nigeria.