Posted by News Express | 28 February 2015 | 4,137 times
Residents of Bayelsa Oil Communities have been scrambling to purchase oil spill compensation forms.
It would be recalled that some 40,000 barrels of crude was discharged into the Atlanticin December 2011 during an operational mishap by the oil field operated by Shell Nigeria Production and Exploration Company (SNEPCO).
The House of Representatives and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had in December 2014 recommended a compensation of $3.96 billion for victims of the incident.
Tens of thousands of such forms were in circulation in oil communities in Bayelsa.
A Youth Leader at Koluama 2 community in Bayelsa, Ebrasin Leghemo, said that the Koluama communities were approached by a firm of valuers, Dutch Nigeria Ltd., which allocated 10,000 forms for the community.
“There are three groups that are involved and we negotiated with them to give us 10,000 slots at the rate of N1, 000 for indigenes and N2,000 for non indigenes and we were meant to understand that each claimant will get N400,000.
“We heard that the House of Representatives has mandated to Shell to pay N3.98 billion to the affected communities and we have secured the 10,000 slots for our community for impacted people amongst us,” Leghemo said.
Meanwhile, agents of the firms of valuers involved in the scheme were making inroads into most communities where the community leaders were purchasing the forms in bulk.
Some of the people, who had purchased the forms, said that the forms were sold at between N1,000 and N1,500 each in coastal communities in Bayelsa and the state capital.
James Wilson said that he had filled and returned the form he bought for N1,000 and filed his claims for both Bonga Oil Spill incident of December 2011 and Chevron’s Rig explosion of January 2012.
Wilson said that he had filed individual claims for N350,000 for damages from the two incidents.
Public Affairs Sources in Shell and Chevron, the oil firms on whose oil fields the damages are claimed declined comments on the development when contacted.
However, Mr. Alagoa Morris, an environmental and human rights activist, has raised alarm over the circulation of oil spill compensation forms by syndicates in oil communities in Bayelsa.
Morris noted that the activities of the ‘faceless syndicates’ were suspicious. He urged state government to investigate the firms behind the scheme to save unsuspecting members of the public.
•Photo shows oil spillage
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