Environmentalists on Thursday berated the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) for poor compliance to regulatory verdict on oil spill matters in its operational fields in the Niger Delta region.
The oil firm however went to court to challenge the fine and lost at the Federal High Court.
A fact-check on the claim indicated that Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court in Lagos, had on June 20, 2018, upheld the 3.6 billion dollars fine imposed on Shell by NOSDRA, dismissing Shell’s case.
However, Shell declined to pay the fine.
The environmentalists under the auspices of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (oEN), at a forum with spill impacted communities in Ikara, Bayelsa, applauded the NOSDRA for its objectivity.
Mr Alagoà Morris, the Head, Bayelsa Office of oEN, who represented the Acting Executive Director of the group, Mr Chima Williams, spoke on the theme: ‘Resisting Regulatory Capture’.
The NGO frowned on alleged frequent disregard to regulatory directives on oil spill incidents and wondered if the oil firm was self-regulatory, adding that a situation here an operator disagreed frequently with regulators “is unhealthy’’.
“As indicated in the theme, this event is unique as it seems to discourage any attempts at regulatory capture.
“One of the main areas of disagreements between stakeholders in the oil industry is in cause of spill as a lot depends on it.
“While there is nothing wrong in any stakeholder contesting whatever is declared as cause of spill, there are certain things to be considered in arriving at declaring the cause.
“In Nigeria, oil industry regulators are supposed to be referees. NOSDRA and state ministries of environment are the regulators.
“As a grassroots organisation, ERA has been working with several communities over the years. Ikarama community is one of those communities. From our records, Ikarama is the community with the highest frequency of documented oil spills.
“The oil spill along Shell’s Adibawa-Okordia delivery line on Nov. 12, 2011, was one of the clear cases of corrosion incidents,” Morris said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that SPDC had rejected the conclusion of NOSDRA that the Nov 12, 2011, leak on the Adibawa-Okordia pipeline was due to corrosion leading to the subjection to further ultrasonic tests and scans which confirmed the pipe was corroded.
The people of Ikarama community in Okordia clan of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa had threatened to shut down operations of SPDC over alleged failure to pay them compensation and remediate their environment impacted by oil spill.
Aggrieved members of the host community said that the incident on Okordia-Rumuekpe Trunk Line owned by the SPDC in November 2019 destroyed their cassava farmlands, rubber plantation, fishing lakes and other means of livelihood.
The community members including the paramount ruler, Chief Herbert Alfred Lamie, claimed that Shell abandoned them over 10 months after the incident.
Lamie lamented regular spills in their community and asked the oil firm to remediate the impacted environment and pay victims, community for general and specific damages done to them.
“We want Shell to come and clean up the area and pay the necessary compensation. But if Shell refuses to come and do the needful, we will not allow them to operate on their manifold.” Lamie said.
Also speaking, the Youth President of Ikarama community, Mr Warder Benjamin corroborated the monarch’s position, saying that spills in the community were usually caused by corrosion as some of pipelines had become too old.
He said they had written series of letters to the oil company since the incident took place yet there was no response.
“We have had a series of corrosion spills along the pipeline within the interval of 500 metres. The whole thing points to the fact that the pipes have decayed and are due for replacement.
“How can you use that pipeline since in the 1960s and expect it not to have issues? It has been there transporting oil, yet they will come to accuse the community of vandalising their pipelines.
“That is injustice. That injustice must stop. This particular spill is caused by corrosion and Shell has to be held responsible,” Benjamin said.
When contacted for reaction, Michael Adande, an SPDC spokesman said that he would issue an updated position of the oil firm but had yet to do so at the time of filing the report.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf
This comes decades after Lalude, who is also an Engineer, rejected a 6 million dollar bribe offer, the foundation said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
The award, “Leadership in Integrity’’ was conferred on Lalude, now 81, during the AAF 5th annual colloquium with the theme: “Integrity – A Sine Qua Non to Building a Prosperous Nation’’.
Speaking at the event which held virtually, Mr Akinjide Adeosun, AAF’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer of St. Rachael’s Pharmaceutical Nigeria Ltd., said the recognition of Lalude was is in line with the core mandate of the foundation.
The core mandate is based on the belief that life would be good for everyone if the nation gets leadership right in all spheres.
“Integrity is an essential building block to building a prosperous nation. Truthfulness, honesty, respect for people, hard work and humility are traits of Integrity.
“Many years ago, our awardee, Papa Olufemi Lalude, the first managing director of the Shell Nigeria Exploration & production Company SNEPCO was offered a bribe of 6 million dollars.
“The organisation that offered him the bribe moved against him. However, he refused to be cowed and stood his ground.
“He was sued with his employer but he triumphed. Lalude is a man of integrity, a rarity in our clime dwarfed by corruption and greed.
“Today, Papa at 81 is living a peaceful, joyous and fulfilled contented life.’’
He adds: “We are celebrating him today. He began his career with integrity as his legacy in mind.
“ We have many good people in Nigeria. We must celebrate them to dwarf the bad publicity the few bad people is giving our nation.”
In his presentation, Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said that Nigeria would continue to find it difficult to grow without putting structures in place to strengthen openness, truthfulness and transparency in leadership.
According to him, the absence of a structure for checks and balances is likely to continue to stunt the growth of the country.
“There is a large trust gap between the citizens and leaders of this country due to lack of transparency on the part of the political class.
“When we talk about integrity in governance, it entails honesty, transparency and accountability in governance.
“Integrity is tied to prosperity of any nation in so many ways and as a leader, you have to be very honest,” he said.
The foundation called on leaders in government to drive patriotism and prosperity by upholding trust and demonstrating transparency.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants from across the globe joined the virtual event.
Speakers at the event unanimously said that the nation had lost its old value system by embracing dishonorable practices and lack of accountability in all spheres across the family, school, business, government and society levels.
A communiqué was also issued which stressed that integrity and honesty remain the collective responsibility to save Nigeria.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Peter Ejiofor)
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday received 16 security operations vehicles from Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd (SNEPCo) toward enhancing security in the state.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at the Lagos House, Marina, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the donation of the security vehicles was a promise kept by the donors.
Sanwo-Olu said that the vehicles would be deployed for the purpose for which they were donated.
”We are excited because this is another confirmation of collaboration, another promise kept, another public private partnership that is working for us in Lagos State.
”A couple of months back, even way before COVID-19, we have met at dinner in which we have asked and solicited for support from our private sector operatives in Lagos and SNEPCO was in that dinner and they committed to providing something for the state.
”So, this was a commitment that was made to us months back, but we are indeed glad that even given all of the very difficult terrain all of us have gone through, they have been able to make it, together with their joint partners – NNPC, ExxonMobil.
”They are doing this because, we, as the government, have shown consistent transparency in how we deal with them, we have shown that when they support us, we get to use it for what the support is meant for.
”So, we want to reassure you again, that whilst we are Oliver Twist, we will continue to ask for more because we see ourselves as joint partners and we will continue to collaborate,” he said.
The governor assured that the security agencies that continued to keep the state safe would get the vehicles, as the government, through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) would determine how the vehicles were distributed.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, SNEPCo, Mr Bayo Ojulari, said that the donation of the 16 vehicles was to enhance policing and facilitate response time to distress calls in the state.
Ojulari commended government’s untiring efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and the enforcement of law and order that had kept the over 20 million residents of the state safe in the face of security threats to lives, property and businesses.
He said that Lagos State, being a commercial nerve centre, was faced with security threats to businesses, human lives and property which negatively impacted its economy, its people and by extension that of the entire nation.
According to him, SNEPCo and indeed Shell Companies in Nigeria (SCiN) recognise the tremendous work the Lagos state government is doing to strengthen security in the state amidst limited resources.
”Our keen and constant evaluation of the state of our community always helps to identify gaps where we believe we can intervene to make a difference.
”In this instance, we recognise the need to support the government’s efforts in keeping the state safe, just as we have continued to support the state in two other areas of education and health.
”This, to a large extent, aligns with our priority of safety, health and development of our people and communities where we operate.
”Therefore, the 16 units of security vehicles being presented to the state’s security trust fund is to enhance policing and facilitate quick response time to distress calls, which are considered to be critical to crime prevention.
”We will continue to work with the state to seek other areas of collaboration and partnership,” he said.
Also in his address, the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) Mr Bala Wunti, said that NNPC believed in investing and touching lives of people through all possible means.
Wunti, represented by Mrs Clementina Arubi of Community Relations, NAPIMS, said that NNPC donated a total of N21 billion in kind, in an effort to bring relief to Nigeria, during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)