Oilwatch Africa, a not-for-profit group seeking to stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction activities, has expressed reservation over the recent spate of oil spill incidence by Shell in Nigeria.
With two major oil spills within a week in Rivers State in the restive Niger Delta region, the organisation observed that oil companies operating the country are yet to show seriousness about ensuring that their facilities are in good working conditions.
“It is quite alarming that, rather than remediating the harms, more investments are being made to expand the areas of threat. New investments in the fossil fuels sector and incessant new oil spills threaten to push the world into climate catastrophe and expose the wrong-headed pathway taken by nations when they gather at COPs for climate negotiations,” the group remarked in a statement made available to EnviroNews on Wednesday, June 28, 2023.
One oil spill was reported from a pipeline owned by Shell in Eteo community on June 13, 2023, while another occurred at Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Oke-Olebo stream which is the only source of fresh water for the community.
Nnimmo Bassey, a member of Oilwatch steering committee, stated: “We have always advocated for a cleaner environment, and we charge the Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to take into account the new oil spills that threaten to derail the ongoing cleanup process. Steps should be taken to ensure accountability by offending parties.”
The coordinator of Oilwatch Africa, Salome Nduta, expressed dissatisfaction over the action of oil companies in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.
“Recently at the just concluded Africa Energy Summit held in UK, it showed that Africa is not just a geographical location, but it is also a cow that should be milked dry for the gains of her captors. Polluters should be held accountable for loss and damage inflicted on communities in Africa,” said Nduta.
Oilwatch Africa has called on the Nigerian government to take charge and ensure the proper clean-up of polluted lands and as well payment of compensation for damage suffered.
“As a group, we further charge all African governments to invest in renewable energy, taking into consideration the true cost of extraction which is causing more harm than good to her peoples,” declared Oilwatch Africa.