By Emma Amaize
WARRI — SEVENTEEN months after the devastating Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, SNEPCo crude oil spillage from its Bonga Field in December, 2011, over 173 Itsekiri and Ijaw communities in Delta and Bayelsa States, affected by the spill, have cried out that they were still suffering the adverse effects of the spill.
The Association of Named Itsekiri/Ijaw Communities in Warri North, Warri South, Burutu and Ekeremor Local Government Areas in Delta and Bayelsa States, in a letter to the Director General, National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, lamented that the people were dying of hunger and effects of harmful dispersant used by SNEPCo to disperse oil spill on the sea surface.
The communities, with a population of over 850,000, in the letter by the Chairman/Coordinator, Mr. Francis Monday and two others, called on NEMA and governments of Delta and Bayelsa States to come to the aid of the people with relief materials, especially food and drugs.
They also appealed for aid from the International Red Cross, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, United Nations, non-governmental organisations and the international community, pending when the National Assembly, government authorities and/or regulatory agencies in Nigeria, which intervened in the matter, would complete their job.
The communities alleged that SNPECo had not properly cleaned up the pollutants used to disperse the spill till date, consequently, contaminating their fishing areas, as well as depriving them of their major source of livelihood, which is fishing.
According to them, the incident has “caused psychological trauma, loss of daily income and impacted on the health of some of our people.
“The management of SNEPCo only succeeded in supplying wrong and/or doctored information to the general public without any investigation jointly conducted by the regulatory and security agencies as well as SNEPCo and their communities’ representatives.”