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Shell/Bodo oil spill negotiations deadlock

By on September 14, 2013
Oil Minister, Diezani Madueke stands accused of participating in Corruption

Oil Minister, Diezani Madueke

Mr Martyn Day, the lawyer representing Bodo community of Rivers in settlement negotiation with Shell, said on Saturday that his clients had rejected an offer made by the oil company.

Day is a senior partner at the London-based Leigh Day law firm while Bodo is in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers.

No fewer than 15,000 claimants from the community had been negotiating with Shell over a massive oil spill which affected the area in 2008.

Day said in a statement issued in Port Harcourt that the community unanimously rejected an offer for compensation from the oil company.

He said Shell’s offer to pay N300,000 per fishing family affected by the spill was rejected.

Day said Bodo community described Shell’s offer as “derisory and insulting”.

“Most members of Bodo community unanimously rejected an offer for compensation from oil company Shell, calling the amount derisory and insulting at the conclusion of talks between their lawyers and the energy giant in Port Harcourt.

“The negotiation ended on Sept. 13,’’ he said.

Day said claimants from Bodo were interested in being paid a fair amount for the losses caused by the 2008 spill in their area.

“The amount offered for most claimants equated to two to three years net lost earnings whereas the creek has already been out of action for five years.

“It may well be another 20 years to 25 years before it is up and running properly again.

“I was not at all surprised to see the community walk out of the talks once they heard what Shell was offering,’’ he said.

Reacting to the development in a statement in Port Harcout, Mr Precious Okolobo, Shell’s spokesman, said the company could not reach an agreement with the community for compensation.

“We haven’t reached agreement on compensation, which is disappointing.

“Nonetheless, we’re pleased to have made progress in relation to clean up.

“SPDC and the Bodo community have both committed their full support to the clean up process currently in progress with the support of Bert Ronhaar, the former Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria.

“We have also proposed a series of interim measures to get clean up started as soon as possible,’’ he said.

Okolobo said the company took part in the negotiations to achieve two objectives:

“To make a generous offer of compensation to those who have suffered hardship as a result of the two highly regrettable operational spills in 2008.

“To make progress in relation to clean up,’’ he said. (NAN)