The people of Aghoro 1 community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have frowned at what they call breach of oil spill compensation procedures in the leak that occurred in the area in May last year.
The leak, last year, on Trans Ramos Pipeline belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) spilled about 1,114 barrels of crude oil into the environment.
The oil spill, which occurred at an oilfield operated by SPDC, impacted and polluted an estimated 113.03 hectares.
A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the incident had concluded that the leaks from the pipeline at three spots were caused by equipment failure.
According to the community, SPDC was frustrating the community’s efforts to get redress following established templates of computing spill compensation rate based on volume of spill and damage assessment.
In a letter to the Managing Director of SPDC by the community’s consultant, Mr Furoebi Akene of Principal Partner FASF Associates, they noted that officials of SPDC were frantically trying to breach scientific procedure in spills response.
According to Akene, rather than await the outcome of a joint post impact and damage assessment being carried out by regulators, SPDC officials were foisting a negotiation method on the people before the assessment report.
He explained that the post impact assessment report being expected from the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) was the only legitimate method of ascertaining the compensation due to the community.
He said: “We are compelled to write you this letter due to the oppressive antics adopted by your company since the spill occurred till date as though you are above the enabling laws of this country where you operate.
“This letter also becomes inevitable against the sad backdrop of the fresh moves by officials of the SPDC in Port Harcourt led by the head of lands in pathetic disregard for due process and industry’s best practices.
“The recent acts of your company by unilaterally luring the CDC Chairman of Aghoro 1 and another community leader to abandon proper compensation from Joint Post Impact Assessment (JPIA) and Damages Assessment (DA) is unacceptable
“I also want to implore you to ask your company and her officials to stop all dishonest actions and simply allow the report of the NOSDRA led PIA and DA report to be the basis for any future discussions between SPDC and Aghoro 1 Community, with us as their properly nominated Consultants,” Akene said.
The Media Relations Manager to SPDC, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, said post investigation activities including discussions on compensation to impacted people were underway and every interest would be taken care of.