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Mulade slams FG over SPDC assets sales without adequate compensation of N/Deltans damaged environment 

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Chief (Comr) Mulade Sheriff

By Cletus Opukeme,

The National Coordinator, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) and the Ibe-Serimowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State). Chief (Comdr) Mulade B. Sheriff has  berated the federal government of Nigeria over over sales of Shell Petroleum development company (SPDC) to assets corporate bodies without adequate compensation of the Niger Delta damaged environment.

He said ”Today SPDC has grossly destroyed the Niger Delta environment with impunity without recourse to proper remediation plans for the environment and ecological damages done as a result of their exploration activity”

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Chief Mulade stated during a press conference, noted, ”We have noticed, in recent times, the tremendous progress that has been recorded in the fight against oil theft by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited in conjunction with the various state security agencies in collaboration with private security firms in the region.

“‘ At the recently held 2024 Faculty Lecture at the Faculty of Science in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Wednesday, January 18th, during his lecture titled “Energy Security, Sustainability and Profitability in Nigeria: Advances, Challenges and Opportunities” the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kolo Kyari CFR revealed that 5,686 illegal refinery sites and 4,480 illegal crude oil connections, totalling 10,166 were discovered and destroyed between the periods of 2021 and 2024.

”While it is not surprising to learn of the statistical breakdown as released by the national oil firm (NNPCL) in the course of their siege against oil theft and vandalism in the region, as a stakeholder I am however glad that these revelations are not only coming to light but have been duly certified by the government, giving credence to our long stand of the massive, collosal degradation that has been ongoing for years in the Niger Delta region” He said.

According to him, ”It is pertinent to mention that NNPCL and the Nigerian security agencies saddled with the responsibility of protecting oil installations in the region are encouraging criminality by the incessant destruction of stolen crude oil evidence, resultant oil spill carnage, thereby destroying aquatic and agrarian life style. The continuous destruction of the ecosystem and aquatic lifestyle has left the youths with no option than to engage in criminal activities for survival since the means of livelihoods is being destroyed as a result of the incessant oil spill, of largely fishing and crops farming.

”Over the years, and before the COVID-19 era, CEPEJ had held series of workshops and organized seminars annually to sensitize stakeholders on the dangers of environmental pollution occasioned by oil leaks or spills, gas flares, and the method of disposing off crude oil confiscated by security agencies from illegal oil sites.

”Since the recruitment of private security firms by the NNPCL to collaborate with other security agencies to wage war against oil theft and vandalism, the Niger Delta people are gradually seeing a new dawn in the Niger Delta as the days of constant water and oil pollution have been fading away.

”We therefore call on the NNPCL as led by its GCEO Mele Kyari as well as the combined security agencies such as the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Air Force, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to not relent but sustain the tempo in their onslaught against oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the region.

We also commend the indigenous private security firms in the region, particularly Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, as led by High Chief (Dr.) Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo for turning the tide in the war against oil theft and drastically reducing oil pollution in the coastal communities. Their efforts are worth commending as they have displayed true patriotism and commitment towards not only safeguarding national assets but securing the future of the Niger Delta region.

He said Niger Deltans  are in shock but not surprised by the recent sales of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Onshore Facilities Asset to indigenous oil firm led by Reissainance and four others. ”Its unfortunate that Nigeria is the only country on earth that will permit an International Oil Company to destroy her ecosystem, environment and divest their investment without any penalty. Today SPDC has grossly destroyed the Niger Delta environment with impunity without recourse to proper remediation plans for the environment and ecological damages done as a result of their exploration activity.

”We would want to strongly appeal and advise the Federal Government led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR and the new buyers i.e the indigenous oil firms to equally consider buying the onshore liabilities as well left by SPDC if they wish to operate peacefully in the region. It is imperative to mention that in a corporate buy out such as this and in accordance with best international practices as obtained in other climes there is an urgent need to address the issue of Compensation and, Accountability for the liabilities of Shell Onshore Assets in Niger Delta.

”Over the years, the Niger Delta has borne the brunt of environmental degradation resulting from Shell’s oil and gas exploration activities. The adverse impact on the communities’ livelihoods, health, and overall well-being cannot be overstated. Consequently, we implore Mr President as the custodian of our nation’s interests, to address the following concerns:

1.*Compensation for Environmental Damage:** The communities affected by Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta region have endured severe environmental degradation. We urge your administration to ensure fair and just compensation for the irreversible damage caused to their lands, water sources, and ecosystems.

2.*Provision for Onshore Liabilities:** The proposed sale of Shell onshore assets must include stringent provisions for addressing existing liabilities. These provisions should guarantee that the new owners assume responsibility for mitigating and rectifying environmental damage and restoring the affected communities ecosystem.

3. **Community Development Initiatives:** Allocate a portion of the proceeds from the sale towards comprehensive community development initiatives. These initiatives should focus on sustainable projects that enhance education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic opportunities for the affected communities.

4. **Transparency and Accountability:** Establish mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in the entire process of the asset sale. The affected communities should be actively involved in decision-making processes to safeguard their interests.

”Further more, we humbly seek the indulgence of the federal government as we trust that they will give due consideration to these pressing matters and delay the approval of this transaction until the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta is addressed properly.
As a collary in 2011 a united nations report stated that the federal government and SPDC were collectively responsible for the Ogoni Pollution, to make matters worse a Dutch court in a historic landmark case delivered on the 29th January 2021 The court of Appeal at the Hague ruled that shell Nigeria was responsible for the oil spills in the Niger Delta and that she’ll had violated it’s duty of care to the Niger Delta see : milieudefensie & or’s v Royal Dutch shell plc. FACTS in 2008 four Nigerian farmers with milieudefensie initiated legal proceedings against Shell Headquarters at the Hague, Their motivation was oil pollution in villages of oruma, Goin, IKET and UDO in the Niger Delta, the oil spills occured between 2004/2008.
Therefore there is a cogent need for the president to please protect the sovereignty of nigeria and ensure that it’s consent/approval to the sale of SPDC onshore Assets is contingent on the adequate provision for the environment liabilities which is a clear and present danger to any future oil and gas activity in the area. There is a need to take decisive positive action to rectify the long-standing injustices suffered by the Niger Delta Oil and Gas Producing communities. By doing so, the federal government will not only uphold the principles of justice but also foster sustainable development and harmony within our great nation.

”Lastly, I thank Mr President for throwing its weight in support of the NNPCL, Security Agencies and Private Outfits in their attempt to rescue the oil sector from the hands of saboteurs and oil thieves in order to boost more production and earn the country more revenues. I am also using this opportunity to appeal to Mr. President to change the narrative and adequately compensate the people of the region who lay the golden eggs (crude oil and gas), most particularly those in oil producing communities who need to feel the presence and impact of government, with massive infrastructures over the long years of their marginalization.” He revealed.

 

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