Shell Pays $10m for Ogoni Clean-up, Stops Pollution at 15 Oil Production Sites
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), the Nigerian arm of international oil company, Shell, over the weekend disclosed that it had paid the sum of $10 million to the Nigerian government to support the cleanup of Ogoniland in the Niger-Delta, a much-awaited environmental remediation initiative of the federal government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2015 approved the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland and set up a working committee to that effect.
In June 2016, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo flagged off the cleanup exercise but not much has been done ever since amidst complaints of paucity of funds.
The cleanup of the Ogoni communities in Rivers State and other parts of the Niger-Delta is being implemented by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Agency (HYPREP) under the supervision of the federal ministry of environment.
Speaking in Port-Harcourt at an interactive session on the Ogoniland cleanup, Shell’s General Manager, External Relations, Mr Igo Weli, said the UNEP report had recommended multi-stakeholder efforts driven by the federal government for the cleanup exercise and Shell was ready to play its role alongside other stakeholders under a transparent governance framework.
Weli also revealed that 15 SPDC Joint Venture oil production sites, specifically mentioned in the UNEP report that needed attention, had been remediated in the communities and certified by government, adding that the firm had also raised its standard on remediation approaches in line with industry best practices.
“SPDC JV remains fully committed to supporting and contributing its share within the appropriate framework and governance structures.
“We encourage all relevant stakeholders to also remain committed to contributing their share,” he said.
The inability of the Federal government to commence the cleanup exercise 2 years after accepting the UNEP report has often been criticised as an indication of its unwillingness to actually address environmental issues in the Niger Delta, a major grouse of agitators like the Niger Delta Avengers.
Shell’s contribution of $10m to the HYPREP take-off fund as reported by the Vanguard may perhaps spur action on the part of government and other stakeholders but only time can tell.