Bothered about the protracted crisis over the Bonga Oil Spillage in the Niger Delta region, Minister of Environment, Laurentia Laraba Mallam, has given a marching order to Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) to ensure that the matter is resolved amicably and expeditiously.
Mallam told SPDC chairman in Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu, at a recent meeting in Abuja that the series of petitions inundating her office over the issue call for concern, adding that it is in the interest of all parties to get the matter settled soonest.
Expressing her appreciation over the patience of affected communities, Mallam said the Federal Government would not overstretch such tolerance.
She appealed to shoreline communities whose fishing activities are affected by the spillage to continue to exercise patience, adding that government is not unaware of the impact of the spillage on their livelihood and that everything humanly possible would be done to mitigate their sufferings.
Sunmonu, who was accompanied by the Managing Director/CEO of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) and other company officials, told the minister that the corporation has carried out wide consultations with stakeholders, and that it is coming out with a mechanism that will put the matter to rest.
He disclosed that a committee of stakeholders made up of SPDC, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Assembly (NASS), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) is being set up to come up with recommendations aimed at resolving the matter amicably.
The Shell boss appealed to the minister whom he referred to as the neutral umpire to assist in the settlement of the dispute.
He also acknowledged the patience of the host communities, just as he sued for their continuous understanding.