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Reps panel asks Shell to pay Ijaws N3 trillion
From John-Abba Ogbodo,Abuja (Culled from The Guardian Newspaper of Feb 27, 2003)
FOR past injustices against people of the Niger Delta in the course of its activities, the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) may have to pay the Ijaws a sum of $1.5 billion, approximately N3 trillion.
This was the recommendation submitted yesterday to the House of Representatives by a panel of jurists set up to investigate complaints of injustice (by the SPDC), brought to the House by the Ijaws.
The panel submitted that oil companies in the area, including Shell, were interested only in their businesses to the detriment of the host communities.
The Ijaw community in Bayelsa State, under the aegis of Ijaw Aborigines, had last year petitioned the National Assembly over alleged injustices meted to them by oil companies, especially Shell in the course of their operations.
Consequently, the House of Representatives raised a four-man panel of environment jurists headed by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammed Bello, to investigate the complaints.
Other members of the panel included retired Justices Kayode Eso, Philip Nnaemeka Agu and Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams (SAN).
In its report submitted to the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche, yesterday at the National Assembly, the panel said oil companies, including the SPDC should be held responsible for the injustices complained about in the petition.
The panel therefore recommended that Shell should pay $1.5 billion compensation to the people in the following order:
Furthermore, it is recommended that prefertial treatment should be given to the host communities in terms of employment.
The oil companies are further asked to do more in terms of community development to avoid youth resistiveness.
Nwuche commended the panel for the work done pointing out that their experiences at the panel, placed them in better stead to handle the job.
Expressing great concern over the level of environmental degradation caused by activities of oil companies in the Niger Delta, Nwuche said oil companies used standards different from those employed in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
The situation, he said, must be decisively addressed based on the report.
In a related development the people of Anioma yesterday renewed their agitation for the creation of Anioma State from the present Delta.
Chief Parick Ozieh, who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers who visited Nwuche, said the agitation dates back to the Second Republic when the bill was assented to by President Shehu Shagari.
He therefore, urged the House to complete the unfinished constitutional exercise.
Nwuche said the House was in support of freedom of _expression exercised by the people and would rely on the provisions of the constitution to handle the issue.
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Reps panel asks Shell to pay Ijaws N3 trillion - The Guardian Feb 27, 2003 ...more>>>
Reps order Shell to pay Ijaws $1.5 Billion - ThisDay Mar 12, 2003