The Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCO, has been fined $5billion over the massive oil spill that occurred at its Bonga oil field on December 20, 2011.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Director General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Dr. Peter Idabor, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Environment.
The committee’s public hearing was meant to provide key actors in the Bonga oil spill an opportunity to brief the committee on the claims of affected communities.Idabor said the sum was an “administrative penalty” considering the large quantity of crude oil discharged into the environment by Shell and the impact of the incident on the water and aquatic life.
According to Idabor, the penalty was also consistent with what was obtainable in other oil producing countries such as Venezuela, Brazil and the United States of America.
He explained that this penalty was not the same as compensation since compensation could only be demanded from a polluting company after a proper post impact assessment has been conducted and scientific evidence of impact established.
Idabor disclosed that NOSDRA, Shell and other relevant stakeholders have concluded plans to conduct the post impact assessment on the spill as soon as approval for funding is secured from National Petroleum Investment Management Services.
Shell disagrees with fine
However, Shell has contested the fine, saying it has done nothing wrong to deserve the fine. In a quick response to Vanguardenquiries, a spokesman for Shell, Mr Tony Okonedo, said: “We do not believe there is any basis in law for such a fine. Neither do we believe that SNEPCO has committed any infraction of Nigerian law to warrant such a fine.
“SNEPCO responded to this incident with professionalism and acted with the consent of the necessary authorities at all times to prevent environmental impact as a result of the incident.”
In the heat of the controversies over the spill, especially with regard to third party spill which was cited in several other parts of the Niger Delta, Shell claimed it had sent samples of the spill to laboratories abroad for tests to confirm its liabilities. But till date, nothing was heard of the result of the tests.
Culled from Search Nigeria
Below, are videos of the situation in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Video Credit: Comrade Sunny Ofehe
Founder of Nigerians Saving Nigerians, Omololu Omotosho discuss the plight of the people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria on Al Jazeera (9th Minute)
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