Over 168,000 fishermen and 350 communities in Delta and Bayelsa states were heavily impacted by the Bonga 2011 oil spill incident from the off-shore field belonging to Shell Nigeria Production and Exploration Company (SNEPCO).
The paramount ruler of Olobia community in Koluama Kingdom, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Howells Levi disclosed this in an interview on Monday in Yenagoa. He said the affected fishermen were ordered by oil industry regulators to stop fishing activities to avoid catching contaminated fish.
Levi said the fishermen were deprived of their income whilst the oil spill response and clean-up activities lasted and that the people deserved to be compensated for the loss of income.
An operational failure at the SNEPCO’s facility in 2011 had resulted in the oil spill incident, which discharged 40,000 barrels of oil into the Atlantic Ocean.
In December 2014, the House of Representatives and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had recommended a compensation of $3.96 billion for victims of the incident.
Levi said the just-concluded verification of claims of impacted people showed that six local government areas on the fringe of the Atlantic in Delta and Bayelsa were seriously impacted by the spill incident.
He said: “The Bonga spill incident elicited a lot of claims many of which were very frivolous; initially more than 2,000 communities thronged Shell, asking for compensation.
“But when we appointed Attorneys and conducted a verification exercise, it was streamlined and we found out that 168,000 persons in 350 communities suffered the negative impact of the spill.
“The impacted LGAs are Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw and Brass in Bayelsa while Warri-North, Warri-South and Burutu in Delta and each of the council areas produced 28,000 victims”.
Shell destroys lives in the Niger Delta with zero accountability.