Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, have differed on oil spills investigation process in Bayelsa State.
ERA/FoEN, an environment non-governmental organisation, accused Shell of withholding Joint Investigation Visit, JIV, reports of oil spill incidents traced to equipment failure to evade payment of compensation but promptly reports sabotage induced spills.
SPDC on its part, said that the company conducts Joint Investigation Visits of spill sites in line with government regulations, adding that whenever a spill occurs, efforts were made to contain the spill, with access to the spill site usually a critical factor in shaping the response.
But ERA in a statement by Mr. Alagoa Morris, its Head of Field Operation in Yenagoa, explained that SPDC has been engaging in the act of denying host communities in the Niger Delta access to JIV reports indicting the company over oil spill incidents.
The group also accused Shell of deploying security operatives to intimidate the communities and deny them of vital JIV reports listing Ikarama and Biseni communities of Bayelsa State and Joinkrama 4, and Edagberi/Betterland communities in Rivers State as some of the communities the company had denied JIV reports.
“SPDC often clandestinely denies the communities of the JIV reports, many of which are equipment failure-related oil spills. Shell has continued to deny the people of JK4, Ikarama and Biseni JIV reports craftily and, this is unacceptable.
“They withhold such reports from the communities and fail to post most of such incidents on the company’s spill incident website; the particular spill incident numbers are often quoted when giving out clean-up contracts.
“One such incident number is 900866 and relates to a 2012 spill which occurred at Shell’s Okordia Manifold in Ikarama which is conspicuously missing in SPDC’s website.
“After signing the JIV, Shell refused to give out the community copy on the pretext that they needed to photocopy the report. On the way they would force the community representatives to get down from the vehicle and speed off,” the group said.