For six months, beginning from the 10th day of June 1998 to December 1998,
Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC) Kolo Creek, Num River,
Bonny pipeline running through Otuegwe 1 community burst open and discharged
raw crude oil into the Oyara mangrove forest. Due to heavy rains in the
month of June to December, the oil spill dispersed into surrounding Rivers,
Rivulets, Creeks, Streams, Farms, and Sacred grounds of the Otuegwe 1
community. The livelihood of local People were devastated, their
socio-economic life was dislocated as locals could no longer farm or fish
and the spill caused a severe ecological destruction. Shell Officers sat
back in air conditioned office apartments and watched in amusement the havoc
wretched on innocent souls under the scorching sun by their deadly
capitalist engine. Without visiting the site, the company emerged with a
position statement attributing the spill to an act of sabotage and declined
to rectify the leaking pipeline.
A thick layer of crude oil rose close to 10ft from the immediate vicinity of
the oil spill. Several appeals to Shell to come over and control the spill
and clean up the pollution did not yield any response from the company.
Prompted by the recalcitrant attitude of Shell, ND-HERO took over the
campaign to enforce Shell to comply with relevant provisions of
international and local environmental laws as regards cleaning up the spill
and restoring the biodiversity. Rather than Shell to comply with their
statutory responsibility under this circumstance, they preferred to engage
in propaganda. They claimed sabotage of equipment by locals, while the poor
harmless farmers and fishermen suffered untold hardship with the flora and
fauna of their native delta community completely dead under the suffocating
impact of the oil spill. As the ND-HERO campaign took a greater effect,
Shell went and hired Willbros Nigerian Ltd to clamp the leakage. They also
hired inexperienced hands to mop up the thick layer of oil spill with hand
pans and after wards the forest was set on fire as a means of cleaning the
remaining residue of the oil spill. It is really amazing to learn that this
strategy of forest burning has become the official policy of Shell as a
means of cleaning crude oil spill in the Niger Delta. Several other
communities have witnessed this same crude Shell policy. By this singular
act, Shell have detroyed over 3,500 Km2 of forest permanently and they have
shamelessly denied it even when the evidence abounds. Other oil companies
during oil spill cleaning exercise similarly use this method.
Mr Purene Ebilegi, ND-HERO field officer visited the scene of the incident
and discussed with local people. He concluded thus "There is no other
humiliation as great as this" and the pathetic situation of the local people
was aptly summed up in the words of 3 years old miss Azibaoledia from the
Otuegwe community when she said in her local Ijaw dialect " I'm soaked in
crude oil". The Local people do not want the oil companies any longer
because of their atrocities. This is evident from various resolutions by
local indigenous organisations namely The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni
People (MOSOP), The Ijaw Youth Congress and the Ijaw National Congress, The
Ikwerre Youth Convention and several others too numerous to mention. The oil
companies and the Nigerian government continue to foist themselves on the
local community, exploiting their oil, destroying the environment, violently
repressing peacefully protesting community people and committing grievous
human rights abuse in the name of oil extraction.
Otuegwe 1, is a small rural community with predominantly indigenous
population of about 1500 persons. Its population is mostly made up of small
holder farmers and fishermen. It is about 4 Km by boat South East of
Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State. Other communities affected are
Obelele and Igebiri communities.
Remember that Shell has committed several other atrocities, in the Niger
Delta, Nigeria. They were in the forefront in the destruction of the life of
the Ogoni people and Ken Saro-wiwa in collaboration with the dictatorial
regime of the late Gen. Sanni. Abacha in Nigeria. The entire people of
Otuegwe and surrounding communities in particular and the Niger Delta people
in general humbly request all people of conscience and good will all over
the world to help them and demand for justice from Shell International
petroleum. In their word, they say
"Do not allow us and our generation to be driven into extinction by the
highly repressive weapon of Shell's international capitalism. We are poor,
rural farmers and fishermen, our only aura of hope the rich biodiversity of
our forest and our oil minerals has been greedily scrambled and utterly
destroyed by the greed of Shell and other similar forces of repression,
while we are consigned by the side watching helplessly. We do not have any
weapon to fight back, our only and last hope is international samaritanism
and brotherhood, What we need is your moral commitment in our struggle, to
redress this injustice".
ND-HERO aim in this campaign is to firstly get Shell to restore the
biodiversity of the destroyed Forest. Secondly, to ensure that there is a
stop to this act of forest burning, which has destroyed a large part of the
biodiversity of the Niger Delta, displacing local community people as the
forest for which most of their life is dependent on is completely destroyed.
Shell has proven very uncooperative in this regard as they decline to accept
the truth but rather prefer public relation gimmicks and the use of
propaganda, while the local people die in anguish, poverty and severe
Please send your Email, fax and letter of protest to the following persons
and places. Demand that Shell should clean up the pollution and stop
forthwith the continuos destruction of the Otuegwe 1 community in yenagoa,
Bayelsa State, Nigeria and they should restore the devastated forest of the
whole of the Niger Delta, Nigeria.
Boycott all Shell products, and other oil company products that operate in
the Niger Delta, Nigeria. They are the products of the blood of the Niger
Delta people. Sensitise your friends, relatives and schoolmates on the
corporate irresponsibility of Shell in the Niger Delta Nigeria. Organise
individually or with friends, comrades and colleagues, peaceful protest and
demonstrations against Shell international.
Protest should be sent to:
1) Shell International Petroleum Co. Ltd.
London SE1 7NA,
Tel: 44 - 0171 934 1234.
Fax: 44 - 0171 934 8060.
2) Shell International Petroleum Mij BV,
2501 AN, The Hague,
Tel: 31 70 377 9111.
Fax: 31 70 377 4848.
3) Shell petroleum and Development company Nig. Ltd.
P. M. B 2418,
Tel: 00234 1 2601600/ 19
Fax : 00234 1 2636864.
Email: nigeria-info@ si.shell.com
4) Shell Oil Company,
P. O Box 2643,
Houston, Texas 77252 -2463,
Tel: + 1713 241 6161
Fax: + 1713 241 4044.
The President and Commander-in-Chief,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
% The Ambassador,
Embassy of Nigeria
1333 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20003
The President and Commander-in-Chief,
The Consulate General of Nigeria,
4488 North Shallow ford Road,
Suite 100 Atlanta, Georgia.
GA 30338. U.S.A
For more information about Shell's atrocities in the Niger Delta, Nigeria,
1) AZIBAOLA ROBERT
NIGER DELTA HUMAN & ENVIRONMENTAL RESCUE ORGANISATION
Block 3b, Road 10, Federal Low cost Housing Estate, Rumueme, P. O. Box
13644, Port Harcourt
Tel/fax: 00234 84 231559
Or visit the web site:
Go to the page of Nigerian groups working against Shell.
The Niger Delta Human and Environmental Rescue Organisation (ND-HERO) is an
NGO and a mass organisation based in the Niger Delta, Nigeria and has been
in the forefront of the struggle for better environmental standards and
human rights for the indigenous people of the Niger Delta, Nigeria.