From Osakhare Erese, Asaba
The concerned victims of oil spill, otherwise called Oil Spill Victims Vanguard (OSPIVV) has dragged the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), a venture of Royal-Dutch Shell (Plc) to court in the United Kingdom over its alleged failure to pay $3.600, 191, 206 compensation to 168, 000 persons and 350 communities affected by the Bonga Oil Field spill of December 20, 2011.
Executive Director of the group, Mr. Harrison Jalla who confirmed the move of the group in a press release he signed, a copy made available to our reporter, stated that the group was moved to institute legal action in United Kingdom (UK) court for accelerated hearing, and unbiased justice.
The statement reads: “we have failed a pre-action notice on September 21, 2017in the TCC High Court of Justice in London through our lawyers, Johnson & Steller Solicitors of Handover Square Mayfair on behalf of the victims and communities affected by the Bonga Oil Field spills of December 20, 2011 when Shell Nigeria Exploration and Product Company (SNEPCO) due to equipment failure in their Bonga Oil Field discharge over 10, 000 barrels of crude oil into the Atlantic Ocean which negatively affected over 168, 000 persons in over 350 coastal communities in Nigeria by the spillage”.
The statement further claimed that the pollution from the discharge which covered a distance of 185 kilometers along the Nigerian Coast Line compelled fishermen to desert the sea, polluted farmlands, vegetation and contaminated the environment in Ekeremo, Southern Ijaw, and Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and Warri South-West, Warri North, and Burutu Local Government Areas of Delta State, and some riverine areas in Ondo State.
“After due process, the House of Representatives and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) levied SNEPCO, the sum of three billion, six hundred million, one hundred, and ninety one thousand, two hundred and six United States Dollas be paid to the affected shoreline communities, victims, and the Federal Government of Nigeria within 14 days in a letter dated December 19, 2014, with reference number NOSDRA/DFA/131/VOLU/409/.
The statement alleged that in its usual ways of being insensitive to the environment in which it operates, its consistent distain, deliberate contempt for constituted authorities in Nigeria since it started exploration several decades ago, SNEPCO has failed and completely refused to pay the recommended compensation, adding, the group was in court to get justice for the victims and the affected communities.
It therefore blamed Shell for causing pains and agony to the lives of the affected communities, and expressed hope that the UK court based on international best practices would deliver justice to the affected coastal communities.
But in a swift reaction, an official of Shell who did not want his name in the print described the illegal action by the group as frivolous, adding that Shell had severally compensated to the people and the communities affected in the recent times.