From: AgroNature Admin
The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on Thursday called on Shell Nigeria Exploration and Petroleum Company Limited (SNEPCO) to obey court action and pay $3.6 billion fine levied against it by the Lagos Federal High Court.
The compensation is to settle over 350 affected communities in the Niger Delta region.
NOSDRA Board Chairman, Sen. Ayo Akinyelure, in a statement by the agency in Abuja stated that the oil spillage which occurred 20th December, 2011 due to exploration within OML 118 severely desecrated the oil rich communities, thereby affecting the rural dwellers.
“We cannot as an agency remain in court in perpetuity, when our people in the Niger Delta region are dying of hunger on daily basis over the years since the occurrence of Bonga oil spillage. We therefore urge SNEPCO management to obey the court order in the interest of justice and fair play and accelerate the process of settlement of compensation to over 350 affected communities in the Niger Delta region through NOSDRA as the sole regulatory agency without further delay,” he stated.
The incident, he noted caused about 40, 000 barrels of crude oil which equals to 6,400,000 litres of crude oil discharged into the seas.
According to Akinyelure, the sad incident led NOSDRA to levy SNEPCO $1.8 billion as compensation for damaging the environment as well as the affected communities with additional $1.8 billion as ‘punitive damages’.
“SNEPCO in the process instituted a suit against the agency, challenging NOSDRA’s Act and its enforcement functions as contravening the constitution of Nigeria (as amended).”
However, the court dismissed the suit and in the final analysis all the questions raised by the plaintiff (SNEPCO) were all resolved in favour of the defendant (NOSDRA) and an order dismissing the suit was clearly made by the presiding judge.
He further applauded verdict of Justice CMA Olatoregun-Ishola, who presided over the proceeding stressing that it would serve as last hope of the downtrodden communities affected by the spillage.