ENVIRONMENTAL rights group, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD) has accused Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), the Nigeria subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major, Shell, of playing double standard in their relationship with some of their host communities.
They are pointing at alleged unfair dealings with Umuorie, a rustic rural community in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State, in Eastern Nigeria. Abia state is however, a member of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an interventionist agency.
FENRAD is alleging that Shell went behind them to destroy ''evidence of oil spill'' which occurred at Usankanya River, near the oil major's Isimiri Flow Station last August 25.
In an online statement to AkanimoReports on Thursday, the Executive Director of the group, Nnanna Nwafor, their Programme Coordinator, Henry Nwaigwe and Director of Administration, Chuka Okoye, said they are acting on behalf of the community.
They maintained that their environmental rights group has written ''several letters'' to the oil company with no positive response. But some field officials of Shell said the company was not aware of what the group is claiming.
But FENRAD is insisting they have taken it upon themselves to carry out an inspection visit of the affected site in order to ascertain the degree of damage done by the spill.
According to them, the inspection team comprises of their staff, elders of the community among them, Chiefs Samuel Akoma, John Nwaorgu (President General of the Community), Lazarus Nwarie (Umunkwocha Village Head).
At the inspection, the team allegedly discovered that the community’s only source of drinking water has been polluted as the spillage has adjourned to neighbouring communities of Umukalu, Umuituru, Umuebulengwu, Obohia and Obunku. It also added that farm lands and crops and fishes have been destroyed while the environment has been oozing with crude oil thereby creating serious environmental hazards.
The group further stated that after the inspection visit to the site, it wrote series of letters titled, ''Call SPDC to Order”. The said letters were sent to National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
They are claiming that Shell visited the site on September 5, 2011 for inspection and put a flow tube to the surface of the water, with no further action taken till date.
''It is pertinent to note that Shell's continued delay in cleaning up the spillage site as well as paying compensation to the adjourning third party, is spelling environmental danger to the affected areas'', the group said.
They are full of regrets that their efforts have not yielded any fruit as the oil giant has continued to allegedly ignore them. ENDS