“SPACES FOR CHANGE I S4C, hereby, demands that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) commence the process of remediating the degradation and damage to the environment of Obiakpu community with immediate effect’’
“SPDC must be mandated by the regulatory agencies to deploy international best practices in their operations for the protection of the environment and host communities’’
Oil spills from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) exploration activities has ravaged Obiakpu community in Ohaji/Egbema council area of Imo State.
The spills are allegedly caused by leakages from crude oil pipelines owned by Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Persecondnews recalls that an inferno from the spills had raged for three days from May 28 to May 30, 2021 in the community before it was extinguished.
Water sources, farmlands and traditional livelihoods were affected by the spills, leaving the communities poorer and traumatized.
Reacting to the devastations, the SPACES FOR CHANGE I S4C strongly condemned what it called “the import of bad environmental practices prevalent in the Niger Delta region into Imo State by multinational oil companies’’.
From eyewitnesses and residents, the spillage started two years ago and residents immediately reported the incident to SPDC for proper remediation steps.
“In spite of this, SPDC did not take any step to stop the oil spill and remediate the environment until one year and six months later and at that time.
“The spillage had wrecked irreparable damage on the community, a further display of negligence and blatant disregard towards the environmental and socio-economic rights of host communities by oil majors.’’
The inferno that engulfed Obiakpu community destroyed over 100 fish ponds, several farmlands and plantations among others estimated to be worth billions of naira.
In addition to the devastating impact on the environment, the spilled oil flowed into the community river which serves as a major source of water for the community.
A statement by the Executive Director, Spaces for Change, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, said:“ We reiterate that the deliberate acts and omissions of these companies, in this regard, amount to a flagrant violation of the right of host communities to development and healthy environment as protected in Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“International instruments and other local regulations, especially the Oil Pipelines Act (2004) Part III (5), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Environmental Guidelines and Standards for Petroleum Industries in Nigeria (EGASPIN) Part VI (B), that places the responsibility of prevention of environmental degradation on private entities when such degradation is as a result of their direct acts and or omissions.
“SPACES FOR CHANGE I S4C, hereby, demands that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) commence the process of remediating the degradation and damage to the environment of Obiakpu community with immediate effect.
“SPDC must be mandated by the regulatory agencies to deploy international best practices in their operations for the protection of the environment and host communities.”
“Communities and individuals affected by the inferno must be provided with emergency relief measures as a matter of urgency.
“Regulatory agencies must take further steps to ensure that investigations of oil spills are open, fair, and without undue interference from oil companies,” Ibezim-Ohaeri also demanded.
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