Niger Delta Fishermen Organization Accuse Shell Of Illegal Bunkering Conspiracy
The Organization of Fishermen Seafood Dealers and Farmers in Niger Delta (OFSDF/ND) have accused multinational oil giant Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC of playing a fundamental role in encouraging and aiding the high spate of illegal bunkering around the Oloma axis of Bonny in Rivers state, following the shoddy pipeline clamping job and company’s refusal to destroy or evacuate illegal bunkering equipment within their pipeline facilities sabotaged by local refiners
Spokesperson for the OFSDF/ND, Mrs Preye Okosi, made this assertion in a letter written to the Amanyanabo of Bonny Kingdom, His Majesty King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple, demanding that shell must return to site and complete the inconclusive clamping jobs and ensure the destruction/clearance of illegal bunkering equipment within the Oloma, Ogbonga and Berger axis or risk stoppage of all her activities in the area.
The letter reads in part: “ANASAMI CONSTRUCTION LIMITED contractors to Shell was awarded a job to work on SPDC pipeline clamping within the ogbonga axis and to destroy local equipment previously used for illegal bunkering in the area to curb the menace of pipeline vandals. However, instead of professionally carrying out the job according specification, the company abandoned the contract halfway and left the area without concluding the clamping job, and had also failed to evacuate remains of the local refinery equipment that was used for illegal bunkering in the area”.
The situation according to OFSDF/ND spokesperson is worrisome because with the presence of the illegal bunkering tools, there is the possibility that the bunkers might revisit and have a seamless access to burst the pipeline with their equipment still in place and continue from where they stopped.
Okosi also disclosed that a damaged pipeline along the Oloma axis left unclamped is still experiencing some amount of leakage. Hear her: ”We are aware they did a cofferdam job, like a tentative preventive arrangement which is over a year now, however SPDC has consistently refused to return to site to do the final clamping”, she said adding that there is also sabotage on the Shell pipeline valve that is yet to be attended to by the company and the concern is that if not repaired it will attract the return of the these illegal bunkers again.
The letter reads: “As the Organization of Fishermen Seafood Dealers and Farmers in Niger Delta (OFSDF/ND) we are greatly concerned because we are the ones directly affected by the spew of spill which obviously robs off on our source of livelihood. Your Majesty our King, we have come to conclude that with the glut of inconclusive jobs done by Shell sub-contractors and continuous silence on the path of SPDC to order the contractor back to site at Ogbonga, including the company’s refusal to carry out clamp job on the various leakages and valve, it has become apparent that there is collusion between shell, their subcontractors and the illegal refiners to continue their illegal refining business” it opined..
The group said the absence of shell and their contractors at the various leakage points have accounted for monumental damage to the environment and fishing activities, adding that in spite of the consequences brought about by their pollution, SPDC is yet to do a proper clean up, rather they are playing politics with the cleanup in these areas.
In another development, information gathered reveals that SPDC is at loogerhead with the Bonny kingdom over an unfortunate decision to carry out a reassessment project within the Bonny territory without involving their host and critical stakeholders Bonny Kingdom.. The people of Ancient Bonny kingdom are said to be incensed that a joint investigation report that should have been signed by members of the host community, Bonny was rather taken to the Andonis by SPDC officials to sign. The action according to one Asinyetogha Furo from Green’s Iwoama in Bonny is an affront on the King and good people of Bonny kingdom, if you consider that a supreme court judgment has clearly identified our boundary with the Andonis.
Similarly, an indigene of the area Victor Hart disclosed that Shell has continued to defy the kingdom in all front. According to him, last year there was a spill and overflow in the shell terminal tank farm due to a mechanical failure on the path of the company. SPDC contacted the Freedom To Operate (FTO) Committee of Bonny kingdom in charge of oil and gas to inform them that job for the clean-up exercise has been awarded. However the Freedom To Operate (FTO) Committee realized that the job was awarded to a non- indigenous contractor against agreement reached between the company and the kingdom on facility and equipment failure and therefore requested that Shell must stop forthwith and re-award the job to an indigenous contractor. This request by the Bonny kingdom according to him, has not been effected as SPDC continue to disregard the order to date, instead they have remained adamant and unconcerned.
There is great anger in Bonny that SPDC is taking the silence of Bonny people for cowardice, a good number of indigenes are gearing up to confront the multinational oil and gas giant, insisting that they must subject to the various MoU’s.
In the letter written to His Majesty King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple by the Organization of Fishermen Seafood Dealers and Farmers in Niger Delta, they warned that SPDC must return to conclude all pending clamping job to forestall further destruction of the environment by these illegal bunkers. The Bonny monarch recently has signed up for the zero-bunkering in his kingdom which is a good development; but the fishing organization is warning that all SPDC activity will be brought to a halt by both the community and the fishermen should they continue in this deceit and seeming conspiracy.