Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) have been urged to pay an $11.5 billion fine as compensation for the 2011 Bonga oil spill incident. The order came from Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the National Oil Spill Response and Emergency Agency (NOSREA), yesterday.
This is not the first time SNEPCO has been issued a fine or indeed had a serious oil spill. Speaking at the House of Representatives Committee on Environment hearing, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi (NIMASA) said the maritime agency calculated a total of $6.5 billion as compensation to be paid to the communities directly affected by the spill. In addition, Director General of NOSREA Peter Idabo said it will be fining Shell $5 billion for the oil spill cleanup.
NIMASA took immediate assistance after the 2011 spillage by providing communities with materials in an attempt to prevent long term damages. Mr Akpobolokermi said that Shell had attempted to block their relief efforts: "When spills like this occur, the first thing is remuneration, attention to the affected communities and finding ways of reducing the suffering of the people and restoring the eco-system, but Shell fell short of all these criteria....the people of Nigeria and the environment are to be protected."
Shell Nigeria Chair Mutiu Snumonu issued the following statement in response to the Bonga incident: "I am very sorry the leak from Bonga happened in the first place, but am now happy to confirm the oil has dispersed. This could not have been done without the support of local and national government officials who enabled our teams to mobilise quickly and start to tackle the oil almost immediately." He added "I also want to thank the teams that worked day and night to clean up the oil for their tireless efforts, and the communities along the Western Delta shoreline for their support and understanding over recent days."
NIMADA urges Shell to take responsibility for its actions to ensure spillages like this do not happen again.