News / Africa

Niger Delta Communities Pressure Shell on 2011 Oil Spill

Niger Delta Communities Pressure Shell on 2011 Oil Spilli
X
Heather Murdock
March 17, 2014 9:51 PM
Local leaders in the Niger Delta want to unite competing communities to pressure Shell Petroleum to pay billions of dollars in reparations and clean up of fishing areas they say were wasted in a 2011 oil spill. Shell disputes the claim, maintaining the spill never hit Nigerian shores or damaged the fishing industry. Heather Murdock reports for VOA from the Niger Delta.
Heather Murdock
Local leaders in the Niger Delta want to unite competing communities to pressure Shell Petroleum to pay billions of dollars in reparations and clean up of fishing areas they say were wasted in a 2011 oil spill. Shell disputes the claim, maintaining the spill never hit Nigerian shores or damaged the fishing industry.

On the beach of Youbebe, a fishing community in the Niger Delta, protesters demand journalists get off the boat to hear what they have to say.

Villagers say since they lost the fishing industry, children are always hungry and often sick from drinking polluted water. (VOA PHOTO/ H. Murdock, 15 March 2014, Youbebe, Nigeria.Villagers say since they lost the fishing industry, children are always hungry and often sick from drinking polluted water. (VOA PHOTO/ H. Murdock, 15 March 2014, Youbebe, Nigeria.
x
Villagers say since they lost the fishing industry, children are always hungry and often sick from drinking polluted water. (VOA PHOTO/ H. Murdock, 15 March 2014, Youbebe, Nigeria.
Villagers say since they lost the fishing industry, children are always hungry and often sick from drinking polluted water. (VOA PHOTO/ H. Murdock, 15 March 2014, Youbebe, Nigeria.
About two million lives were devastated by the Bonga oil spill, they say, holding up water that appears to be polluted with oil. They say their children are always hungry because there are no fish to eat or sell.

“They destroyed the river so we do not get fish again," said Sia. "The river is polluted. There is no fish.”

But Shell says the spill from its Bonga oil field was cleaned up swiftly after the leak and it never harmed the communities.

The company says there was another spill from an unknown vessel shortly after the Bonga spill and Shell spent several million dollars cleaning up both spills, even though the second was not its fault.

But as the protesters shake branches as a symbol of anger, they demand humanitarian aid, payment for lost incomes, and that Shell clean up the oil, saying oil companies have been taking advantage of delta residents for decades.

On the other side of the beach, Sia shows us an oil pipeline that runs from a nearby processing plant, through the village and into the water.

“This is where the pipe passes.," said Sia "High pressure pipeline. As you can see the pipes are corroded.  If this pipe gets split now there will be oil spillage all over. There is crude passing this place.”

Other protesters lead us into their village.

There is no electricity or hospital, and young men pull more dirty water out of what looks like a spring. They drink it while photographers take pictures. The men want people to see that they are drinking water polluted with oil.

About an hour away by speedboat, in the nearest city Warri, traditional rulers say they want to negotiate with the oil company, known locally as SPDC, for the sum of $5.6 billion to compensate and clean up fishing communities.

His Royal Highness Ibamugha Ojukosin. says, “We are here as a people collectively with one voice. Let our cry be heard. Let [victims of] Bonga spill of SPDC in 20 December 2011 be adequately compensated, the communities cleaned. And let us be paid.  I would want to rest my case.”

Other leaders say Niger Delta communities have in the past failed to extract compensation from oil companies because the communities are hopelessly divided on the issue of who is and who is not owed.

At this conference in Warri, leaders and lawyers work to unite communities but some attendees say they believe that if Shell does pay, the only real beneficiaries will be the leaders.

Early this year, government agencies demanded Shell pay an $11.5 billion fine for the Bonga spill.  Shell says these fines were never levied and the company has not paid any fines associated with the Bonga spill because it is not liable "legally or otherwise."

Protesters on the beach say the issue is simpler than that. They want the company to pay up or get out.

A resident says, “The next step we take if the protest do not succeed, SPDC will leave our lands. That’s what we’ll do. And no army man can stop us.”

In the past, delta residents have rebelled against oil companies and the government. Traditional leaders say they fear more unrest in the Niger Delta if the people's concerns are not addressed.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid