Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Curse of Oil - 200 Riverside Delta Communities Cry Out

12 March 2012

By Emma Amaize


THERE are two traditional African sayings that "a man that lives near the river will not use spit to wash his hands" and "a man cannot be in the river and be looking for fish to eat".

Both mean the same thing, which is that one cannot be suffering in the midst of plenty.

But since December 20, 2011 discharge of about 40, 000 barrels of crude oil into the Bight of Benin by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNPECO, following a leak in its oil production facility, christened, Bonga offshore oil field, inhabitants of not less than 200 riverine communities, scattered in the Itsekiri and Ijaw ethnic groups in Warri South-West and Warri North Local Government Areas of Delta State complain that day after day, their search for fish to eat had been in vain.

Reason: Crude oil spill purported to be from Bonga has polluted the rivers, streams and ponds in the fishing communities, killing and chasing away fishes from their environments to the deep seas. Sometimes, fishermen stay days before they return to the village because of the distance of the sea from their homes. Though the Managing Director, SPDC/Chairman, Shell companies in Nigeria, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu and Corporate Media Relations Manager, Mr. Tony Okonedo, insisted that the spill the communities were complaining about were third party spill and not from Bonga FPSO, the oil communities said the only crude oil spill they knew within the period was the one from the Bonga.

Itsekiri communities cry out

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