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VENTURES AFRICA – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has demanded a payment of $11.5 billion (N1.84 trillion) from Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) as fine and compensation for the Bonga oil spill incident which happened in 2011.
NOSDRA which had initially imposed a fine of $500 billion dollars on the company as penalty stated that the compensation fees could not be initially imposed since the Post-Impact Assessment Report had not been studied.
“Compensation really derives after you have done a post-impact assessment,” NOSDRA Director-General, Peter Idabor said in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday
He however established that the assessment report was ready and recommendation on how much SNEPCO will pay as compensation fees will be made after it had been studied.
The recommendation was made by Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi during the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment where he stated that the compensation to be given to affected communities came to $6.5 billion (N1.04 trillion) which accounts for the increase from $5 billion to $11.5 billion.
NOSDRA Director, Idabor blamed the company for their failure to contain the discharge of the crude oil into the surrounding waters which in effect affected not only the aquatic life but the means of livelihood of the surrounding communities
But Shell has reacted to this by saying there was no evidence to support the allegation that surrounding communities were affected
“Satellite and aerial images confirmed that the Bonga oil spill could not have reached coastlines in the eastern Niger Delta, as has been claimed,” SNEPCO’s Managing Director, Chike Onyejekwe said.
This leaves the question of whether Shell will comply with the imposed fine and what the consequences will be if they do not.
Nigerian oil communities have suffered from oil spillage and gas flaring since the country began commercial production of oil products. However, not many have been adequately compensated for the grave impact it has had on their environment.