24 October 2011
... Following the UN report indicting Shell (a major oil company in Niger-Delta) over its operations particularly in the Ogoni land, the Senate, deliberated on the cleanup fund of $1billion. Chibuzo Ukaibe, captured the issues raised.
Last week, the Senate debated the United Nations Report on the Ogoni land Oil Spillage, (bordering on the recommended $1 billion for cleanup of the area). In what appears to be a season of retribution for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over its activities in the Niger Delta, the UN (Environmental Programme), after a two-year investigation accused Shell of being responsible for the Ogoniland pollution.
This chilling report was coming at a period when Shell is facing a law suit in the United States instituted by a London based oil and gas industry watch dog. The platform accused Shell, the Dutch owned company of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to feuding militant groups as well as government forces that attacked, tortured and killed Nigerians living in the creeks and swamplands in the region.
Although the Dutch parliament had beaten its Nigerian counterpart on debating the issue, the import of the deliberations by the Nigerian Senate was not lost. On many levels, the debate underscored the inefficiencies of the federal government over the years vis-a-vis a weak monitoring mechanism including legal frame-work for the oil exploration operations of the Oil majors as well as the insensitivity of the government to the plight of the people in the region- which occasioned the deliberate neglect (indeed inexcusable) of the oil companies.