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Victims say not in court with SNEPCo over Bonga oil spill compensation


Bonga-Oil-SpillFishermen operating along the Atlantic coastline affected by the December 2011 Bonga Oil spill have dismissed reports that they had pending litigation on the incident.

An oil spill from an offshore field operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) discharged some 40,000 barrels of crude and polluted the Atlantic, compelling fishermen to desert the sea.

The House of Representatives and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had in December 2014 recommended a compensation of 3.96 billion dollars for victims of the incident.

Chief Howells Levi, Paramount Ruler of Olobia Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Shell had remained adamant in spite of directives by regulators.

The monarch noted that refusal by the company to pay the 3.96 billion dollars compensation directed by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) was unacceptable.

He said that the affected communities had resolved to review strategies in pursuing their claims with the oil firm and would embark on their next line of action following the company’s posture.

He debunked allegations that there were pending litigations with SNEPCO on the spill incident.

“Pursuant to SNEPCo’s recent letter to NOSDRA stating that SNEPCo is not ready to settle the Bonga oil spill compensation amicably because some persons took SNEPCO to court.

“The claims are untrue and to the best of our knowledge, we all embraced the procedure adopted by the Federal Government regulatory agencies led by NOSDRA; we are not in court over this incident.

“At the beginning of the House of Reps and NOSDRA’s initiative, we withdrew all cases on Bonga spill to pave way for settlement by regulators.

“That claim of litigation is not current as all cases were withdrawn over a year ago,’’ Howells said.

Mr Precious Okolobo, Head of Media Relations in Shell, declined comments when contacted for reactions on telephone and neither responded to enquiries on the Bonga Spill incident by email.

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