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Ijaw group to SNEPCO: Obey court order on Bonga spill

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By Samuel Oyadongha

YENAGOA—Ijaw Professionals Association, IPA, has urged Shell Nigeria Exploration and Petroleum Company Limited, SNEPCo, to pay the $3.6 billion fine slammed on it by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Bonga oil field …alleged source of the massive spill

The fine is for the settlement of over 100 miles of shoreline communities in the Niger Delta affected by the December 20, 2011 Bonga Oil Spill.

Mr.  Elaye Otrofanowei and Iniruo Wills, Presidents of IPA, Homeland Chapter (Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta) and Lagos chapter respectively,  said in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, that the judgment was a declaration for environmental justice in the Niger Delta.

They recalled that the Bonga spill caused about 40,000 barrels of crude oil (6,400,000 litres) to be discharged into the sea, affecting the rural communities.

“On June 20, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos dismissed the suit by SNEPCO challenging the jurisdiction of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, to impose fines on the company pursuant to the provision of the NOSDRA Act.

“The suit was particularly in relation to the sum of $3.6bn levelled against the company for the Bonga oil spill of December 20, 2011, where about 40,000 barrels of crude oil were spilled into the Atlantic Ocean, affecting over 100 miles of shoreline communities.

“IPA reckons this judgment a welcome declaration for environmental justice in the ecologically precious Niger Delta.

“Accordingly, we urge SNEPCO and its parent company, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to rise up to their responsibility and to quickly abide by the decision of the court to ensure long overdue reparations to the affected shoreline communities, who are eagerly waiting.”

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