WARRI—OVER 350 shoreline communities in Delta, Ondo and Bayelsa states affected by the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCO, Bonga oil spill of December 2011, weekend, accused the oil multinational of using divide and rule tactics against the people.
The victims in a statement by Chief Awe Daniel, Warri South, Delta State, and nine others, said: “They, SNEPCo and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, have continued their attempt to divide the Niger Delta people in the bid to cheat and conquer the people of the region.
” Spokesperson of Shell, Mr. Precious Okolobo, told Vanguard when contacted, yesterday, “I have no comments.” The communities, which dragged Shell before the National Assembly in 2014, said the company was deliberately sidetracking Gbutse Property Limited, their accredited representative/attorney in its bogus negotiation. They said: “The accredited representative/attorney of all the shoreline communities remain Gbutse Property Limited and any negotiation without the presence and/or signature of our attorney shall be deemed null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.
“This recent attempt to revive the same crude tactics of divide and conquer after years of its defeat is nothing but a criminal attempt to incite the people against the Federal Government and/or intra-ethnic violence in the Niger Delta, thereby undermining the national security in a tense environment.
“Shell should note that the impacted communities will definitely file a separate claim against Shell in a court of law should Shell fail to commence negotiation with our said Representative/Attorney. As such, Shell should do the right thing and mind their business which is why they are in Nigeria.
“Sometimes in July 2016, Shell invited GMoU chairmen of 24 communities to sign nefarious agreement on behalf of the impacted communities with a view that the Federal Government case at the Federal High Court, Abuja will not succeed because the Federal Government is Shell’s principal with respect to the Bonga field. Secondly, Federal Government agent (NOSDRA) through scientific report said that the Bonga spill did not impact the shores and thirdly money paid into the Federation Account may not get to communities.
“We wish to inform the whole world that the GMoU chairmen/members are not invested with any authority to discuss land acquisition and/or oil spill compensation as well as convert compensation into infrastructure on behalf of impacted communities, especially the 2011 Bonga spill in any manner whatsoever.
“Even, after the signing of the GMoU, Shell has been dealing/paying compensation with respect to land acquisition or oil spills to all affected persons without involving the GMoU members. For the avoidance of doubt, there was no ‘mystery spill’ in 2011 in any of our communities.
If Shell wishes to make any gratis payment to members of affected communities, they are free to do so. But such payment will not absolve them of liability in law for the December 2011 Bonga spill. “It is also on record that these antics in the past incited people to violence in the Niger Delta giving the unfortunate, but undeserved impression that the people of the region are incapable of managing their challenges.” Whereas, the drummer in the shadows was Shell, Shell may be the biggest dealer in crude oil in Nigeria today, but the time for it to stop engaging in crude tactics has come.”