Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NIGERIAN VILLAGERS DEMAND $5 MILLION FROM SHELL



I am tired of hearing and reading the news of villagers in the Niger Delta harassing and embarrassing officials of the multinational oil and gas companies to extort financial settlement from them all the time. Because, that will not solve the wide spread damages done to our environment and these collateral damages have been causing the deprivations we suffer daily in our communities where the majority of us are paupers harrowing in the misery of our penury.

I am from the Niger Delta of Nigeria and I am very much involved in the agitations of my suffering people who have been wallowing in polluted waters and choking from polluted air. Our waters are polluted daily by oil spills and the emissions from gas flares have polluted the atmosphere of our environment. The Niger Delta is an environmental disaster in dire need of remediation. The Niger Delta is a time bomb and only God knows when it will explode. And Nigeria and the multinational oil companies are sitting on the keg of gunpowder and when the violence shall erupt, I would be blameless. Only God can contain the anger of my people. No week passes that they will not demand more compensation from either Shell or ChevronTexaco, because, they are the biggest oil companies operating in Nigeria.

The solution to all these violent agitations is simple. The corrupt government should stop misappropriating the billions of dollars that the multinational oil and gas companies have been paying the Nigerian government for the benefit of the host communities in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. The 13% (thirteen percent) derivation given to us is not enough and we refuse to continue to accept it. Even, the 25% we demanded at the last National Political Reforms Conference is not good enough. We demand at least 50% or let us have the natural control of the economic management of our resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government of Nigeria as it is done in America. The US Government does not control the revenue from the oil in Texas. Texas only pays taxes for the oil resources. Therefore, we hereby demand the total resource control of all our oil and gas resources in the true equity of true Federalism, as it is the practice in the United States of America. The Federal Government of Nigeria should hands off our oil and gas resources. This is the only solution. Otherwise, we will continue to demand for our legitimate rights to possess our possessions.

I am tired of the perpetual deprivations of my people in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And I want the government of Nigeria to meet with our community leaders to address the issues at stake in the best interest of all the bona fide stakeholders in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And the Federal Government of Nigeria should stop using our resources to fund the Islamic states of Northern Nigeria. If these Islamic states can have the rights to impose Islamic orders in a secular sovereignty in violation of the Federal Constitution of Nigeria, then we of the Southern States can have the rights to control our natural resources. Let the Northern States control and manage their resources. Let every state in Nigeria control and manage their resources in true democracy and governance of a true Federal Republic of Nigeria. Then, the people of the Niger Delta of Nigeria will stop the further embarrassment and harassment of all the multinational oil and gas companies operating in our communities. No amount of tokens in cash or kind will be enough compensation for the collateral damages done to our ecosystem and welfare in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

But, where there is no justice, there will be no peace.

I believe in one united Nigeria. And Nigerian Times will cooperate and support all the stakeholders to put heads together and join hands together to live and work together in Love, peace and unity for the nation building of a New Nigeria in the leadership of Africa among the comity of nations in the world.
To listen and to learn and make amends is the only true education.



(Picture:A daily scene in the Niger Delta.)
Associated Press
Shell Reopens Oil Facilities in Nigeria
08.22.2005, 12:19 PM

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has reopened two oil facilities producing nearly 40,000 barrels of crude a day after closing them last week amid a compensation dispute, a company spokeswoman said Monday. A lawyer said talks to resolve the dispute would resume.

Villagers demanding compensation for an oil spill and a fire nearly two years ago launched protests in mid-August that prompted Shell to close the facilities in the oil-rich Niger delta's Obio-Akpor district.

Bernadette Cunnane, a Shell spokeswoman, said by telephone from London that the Agbada I flow station producing 14,000 barrels a day reopened Sunday while the Agbada II station, which produces 25,000 barrels daily, reopened early Monday.

Cunnane declined further comment. Aziboala Roberts, the lawyer representing the protesting communities, said both sides have agreed to resume negotiations for compensation demanded by five Obio-Akpor communities for the Dec. 2003 oil spill, which they say affected their streams and farmlands.

"As a sign of good faith the communities have agreed to lift the siege," Roberts said by telephone from the oil industry center of Port Harcourt.

Roberts said Shell's initial offer of a total sum of US$938.60 (euro759.50) for jointly owned community property remained unacceptable to the villagers.

Roberts said villagers were asking for US$5 million (euro4.11 million), but said "if Shell shows good faith they're ready to be flexible."

Shell officials have said the offer reflected oil industry standards in Nigeria.

Armed militants, protesters and oil thieves frequently target oil operations in the impoverished Niger delta, where locals accuse joint ventures run by the government and oil multinationals of cheating them out of the oil wealth pumped from their land and leaving them the ugly consequences: pollution and environmental degradation.

Nearly all of Nigeria's 2.5 million barrels of daily exports are produced in the delta region.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter and the fifth largest supplier of crude to the United States.

No comments: