As the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) continues to implement the 22 tasks allocated to it in the United Nationa Environmental Pollution Reports, persistent re-spilling in the Ogoni areas may pale into insignificance, the N200Bn ($1Bn) earmarked to clean up the polluted areas
Igo Weli, the general manager, external relations of SPDC said the volume of oil so far spilled into the Ogoni environment; waters, farmlands, etc, is alarming.
The Shell spokesman who for years drove the Local Content Division as general manager that led to massive transfer of capacity, contracts, and jobs to Nigerians, said oil bunkering and crude way of refining going on in the area with attendant busting of the 28-inch pipeline delivering oil across the oil region to Bonny Terminal had caused big damage.
Igo stated: “Oil bunkering and re-pollution must stop if UNEP Report must be a success. It is a waste resources pumping if oil bunkering is allowed to continue because the $1Bn will be a waste”.
The expert said illegal refining going on in the has led to discharge of waste into the environment, an act that he said has caused ceaseless re-pollution while bust pipes trigger re-spilling into the waters, causing in greater dimension the same damage that the UNEP Report sought to repair.
Oil theft has led to estimated loss of 300 barrels per day in the oil region causing shutfall in the federation account. While ships suck the crude through pipelines for illegal export across the seas, hundreds of refining spots have emerged in the communities cooking crude into diesel which is sold all over. This has created what is termed parallel economy as warned by international observers.
Weli said the fate of the UNEP Report was now bright because the federal government was now clear on what it intends to in Ogoni following the reconstitution of the relevant implementation agency as well as setting up of steering committee with some natives and the setting aside of $10m (about N20Bn) for 2015 alone.
The GM said it was proper to know what Shell was doing about the UNEP Report and what was left undone, and urged stakeholders to treat the matter with a sense of communoalism where what affected one affected all.
He articulated a number of steps so far taken by Shell in Ogoni including setting up of four cluster boards to receive funds from Shell for onward execution of projects selected by the communities directly. He also talked about the Bodoo Remediation Scheme which has so far recruited over 300 youths that would work with three multinational contractors that would begin the project in 2016. In the area of eduation, he said many Ogoni indigenes were reciening scholarships while 105 other youth have been trained as entrepreneurs under the LiveWire scheme.
Weli said the remaining six tasks not yet tackled were ones that required other stakeholders input or those hampered by insecurity.
He said there was need for the Ogoni people to join the remediation project (ORP) which would create jobs instead of expecting cash handouts that was not part of the UNEP Report.
Other managers in Shell such as Gloria Udoh (Social Investment) and Philip Shekwolo (ORP) explained other things being done in Ogoni by SPDc despite quitting the area since 1993.