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CSO asks Shell to ‘properly clean up Niger Delta’ before onshore exit

CSO asks Shell to ‘properly clean up Niger Delta’ before onshore exit
January 25
16:15 2024

The Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) says Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) should properly clean up and compensate affected communities in the Niger Delta before it exits the terrain. 

This comes after Shell announced an agreement to sell its Nigerian onshore oil assets to a consortium of local companies for over $1.3 billion. 

Sheriff Mulade, national coordinator for CEPEJ, said on Tuesday that the new buyers should also consider buying the onshore liabilities left by Shell.

He urged the federal government to intervene and save the Niger Delta environment from further degradation due to oil spills, illegal bunkering, and oil theft, noting that the organisation will recourse to legal action if nothing is done.

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“As environmentalists and stakeholders of the Niger Delta, we have only one option,” Mulade said.

“We are calling on the federal government to do the needful. But if the government fails, we will institute a suit restraining the sales of those assets, which we have already commenced.

“Because we will not allow Shell to exit our land until the proper cleanup is done.”

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He also expressed concerns over the level of ecological harm oil exploration has wrought on the region.

“We would want to strongly appeal and advise the federal government led by President Bola Tinubu and the new buyers — the indigenous oil firms — to equally consider buying the onshore liabilities as well left by the SPDC if they wish to operate peacefully in the region,” Mulade added.

“Over the years, the Niger Delta has borne the brunt of environmental degradation resulting from Shell’s oil and gas exploration activities. The overall well-being cannot be overstated.

“Consequently, we implore Mr. President as the custodian of our nation’s interests, to address the following —compensate communities affected by Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta region.

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“We urge your administration to ensure fair and just compensation for irreversible damage caused to their lands, water sources, and ecosystems.

“The proposed sale of Shell onshore assets must include stringent provisions for addressing existing liabilities.

“These provisions should guarantee that the new owners assume responsibility for mitigating and rectifying environmental damage and restoring the affected community’s ecosystem.

“Allocate a portion of the proceeds from the sale towards comprehensive community development initiatives. These initiatives should focus on sustainable projects that enhance education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic opportunities for the affected communities.

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“Establish mechanism to ensure transparency and accountability in the entire process of the asset sale.

“The affected communities should be actively involved in the decision-making processes to safeguard their interests.”

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