Ogoni Community Disagree With Shell Over Cause of Oil Spill

Oil spill in Nigeria affected the livelihood of thousands of Africans.

Oil spill in Nigeria affected the livelihood of thousands of Africans.

Originally published on OgoniNews.com

The people of Kegbara-Dere (K-Dere) Ogoni in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State and oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) have disagreed over the cause of the May 7 oil spill in the community.

Chairman of Kegbara Dere Town Governing Council (KDTGC), Mr. Bari-ara Kpalap, yesterday alleged that SPDC accepted liability for the oil spill that devastated their farmlands, swamps and streams.
But spokesman of Shell, Mr. Precious Okolobo, said the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) revealed that the spills were caused by hacksaw cuts, with JIV determining that the volume spilled was 10.2 barrels of crude oil.

K-Dere people stated that a joint investigation report on the spill, with reference No. 811617, blamed the incident on corrosion of the deeply-seated, high-pressure 28″ Bomu-Bonny Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), owned and operated by SPDC.

The people of the community alleged that the report also indicted the oil giant of operational negligence, which was denied by Okolobo.

Ogoniland is made up of four councils, which are agitating with neigbouring councils for creation of Bori State, with the proposed capital Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoniland and the seat of Khana council.

Shell was chased out of Ogoniland in 1993 when the renowned environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were hanged on November 10, 1995 during the regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha.

SPDC is yet to return to Ogoniland.

K-Dere people through the spokesman said: “The JIV was conducted on May 9, 2012 by representatives of Shell, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Gokana Local Government Council and Kegbara-Dere community, to determine the cause of the incident and to assess risks and related matters.

“Although, we are still studying the report, we have been vindicated by the result of the investigation, which has been accepted by Shell, that contrary to insinuations pre-JIV by SPDC officials hinging the spill on sabotage, the company’s equipment failure and negligence were confirmed as causes of the spill.’’

He went on:”An earlier similar investigation carried out by the team on May 7, 2012 in respect of April 19, 2012 Bomu Manifold Spill in the community, with reference No. 807267, equipment failure was also confirmed to be the cause.

“These have no doubt strengthened our position that the bulk of oil spill incidents in the area and indeed the entire Niger Delta region are as a result of operational failures and recklessness.

“The pipe were laid in the late 1950s and with the incessant spills, we are in no doubt about the questionable integrity of the pipes.’’

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