One of the unfortunate fisherwomen, fishermen and farmers of Imiringi community in Kolo Creek Cluster who lost their livelihoods to the incessant oil spills in the area. This woman struggled to prematurely harvest all her fish before they all died in the polluted Imiringi river. She and her children suffered sever diarrhea for weeks after consuming the polluted fish.
After much pressure on Shell Nigeria, SACA managed after 4 years and with the help of the company's shareholders in the UK, to get the company to come and clean up Oya Lake which was polluted by a spill from their facility. The spill occurred in 2008. But the cleanup took place in 2013. However, the cleanup was not properly done and the lake is still polluted.
This is a part of an illegal refinery at Ibelebiri, which is only 5 minutes away from Shell's Kolo Creek Flowstation, caught fire and burnt over 30 youths and women working there. The refinery still resumed operation after a few days. Allegations are rife that top government and security officials are behind these illegal bunkering activities, using the hungry boys as willing tools.
This is one of the spills that occured in Ikarama and flooded people's homes. Sadly, it was allowed to linger into the seasonal flood period. Community members alleged that the company deliberately leaves the oil so that the flood would come and wash it away. But it ends up contaminating wider areas.
More than 300 oil spills occur annually in the Niger Delta. Oil companies claim that 80% of them are due to sabotage. But civil societies and local observers disagree. SACA has witnessed and confronted cases of prejudged causes of oil spills and manipulated joint investigation visits (JIVs) in which innocent community youths were blamed by company managements and wrongly punished for oil spills that were due to operational equipment failure, such as leaking flanges at manifolds. Pipeline corrosion is a big issue in Nigeria, as most of the pipeline networks are over 30 years old, which is against international standards. Many victims of oil spills who are unable to get redress try to draw the companies attention by vandalising the companies' installations in their areas. SACA tries to help prevent vandalism through alternative livelihoods and Alternative Dispute Resolution to stop aggrieved community youths venting their anger on companies' facilities.
SACA scouts around daily for oil spills around the Niger Delta, especially in its focus communities in Bayelsa State. Once a spill is identified or reported, SACA notifies the asset owner/operator and follows up with unrelenting engagements until the leakage is stopped (pipeline clamped) and cleanup process started and completed. SACA also monitors to ensure that the cleanups are done to international standards and in line with the Nigerian government’s Environmental Guidelines And Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN).
Community youths do vandalize pipelines and they admit it from time to time to SACA. However, they allege that they are induced, trained and equipped for it by the company staff and contractors, who want to make more money from cleanup contracts in addition to their salaries. If there are no oil spills, cleanup contractors and spills and remediation departments in the company would not make more money. “It’s a dirty game,” one youth alleged, “and if the company wants to destroy itself, am I the one to struggle to protect it from itself? ‘Wetin concern me?’ My concern is to do what they want me to do and get my share.” SACA embarked on serious anti-vandalism campaigns to sensitize the youths on the harm they are causing to their own environments and healths by these acts, and to conscientize the contractors and company workers on best practice.
There seems to be a totally different standard for oil/gas extraction in Africa. “Although the head offices of the corporate giants in London, The Hague, Houston, Milan and other distant capitals of the world espoused transparencies and the highest ideals in corporate responsibility, operations in Nigeria like other remote parts of the world were conducted behind a cloak of secrecy. Simply put, the ills of corrupt government and an increasingly corrupt society pervaded the Nigerian operations of the major international oil companies.” - Dr. Stephen Davis. SACA works hard with the relevant bodies to engage the home offices of the multinationals as well as major pressure bodies such as the UN, Amnesty International and the companies’ conscientious shareholders, to address these problems.
SACA holds anti-vandalism in all its over 37 target communities in Bayelsa. But every year, it also organises an anti-vandalism summit that is attended by representatives of Shell, Agip, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the Cluster Development Boards (CDBs), the Nigerian security forces, the Federal and State Ministries of Environment, the Media, other NGOs and CSOs, public health officials, other government functionaries and community leaders. Click on the button below to see the report from one of such a gathering.Details
In what appears like an official SOS for the massive oil spill pollutions going on in Bayelsa State which is claiming thousands of lives, the Bayelsa State government has set up a Commission of environmental, legal, economic and diplomatic experts from around the world to investigate decades of what it calls 'environmental terrorism' by the oil companies in Bayelsa State. The Commission is headed by the renowned lawyer and UK parliamentarian, Dr. John Sentamu. The Commission is working with SACA.Details