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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs