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Eleme Community Rejects SPDC Compensation …Says, it is laughable

The People of Ogale community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, have rejected outrightly, a cheque of N119,040 presented to them by the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company for the oil spill that devastated their land, destroyed the ecological plantations in the area and made their water undrinkable since 2007.
Speaking to newsmen on behalf of the Ogale Community, the Paramount Ruler of the Community, Chief (Emere) Godwin Bebe Okpabi, noted that land vegetation in the area has been destroyed by benzene, a dangerous chemical component associated with the oil spillage.
“Shell has several manifolds and oil wells scattered all over the land of Eleme, yet they don’t care about the health and welfare of the people on whose land, they operate.”
Continuing, Chief Okpabi, noted that, instead of Shell trying to make life easier for the people of Ogale community, they decided to issue a laughable cheque of N119,040, as total compensation for the area since 2007, “an amount that is not up to $1,000. It is laughable. It just tells you, where Shell places you and I that are Africans.
“It tells you what they think of us. Of course we have decided to sue them (Shell) in United States of America (USA), because we believe the judiciary system, the people of USA and also the good people of Detroit Michigan will see our plight and the wicked oppression against us and reason with us.”
The SPDC had issued a cheque and receipt signifying that the sum of N119, 040 has been paid to the community as compensation for areas affected by a spill four years ago.
Showing newsmen the cheque and receipt issued in his name, the traditional ruler of Ogale, Chief Godwin Okpabi, described the amount that was given to the community as compensation as not only laughable, but ridiculous.
He stated that the community was not interested in such compensation and would never accept it.
Chief Okpabi, also took newsmen round Ogale community, particularly to affected areas, where hitherto, a good drinking stream belonging to the community at Okenta, known as okenta stream was badly destroyed by the oil spillage from one of the oil wells constructed by Shell in the area.
“From the reports issued by experts from United Nations Environmental Programmes, (UNEP) concerning Eleme land, our water is no longer good for drinking and even for bathing, yet, shell does not want to do anything about it.
“The Presidency too, feels unconcerned about our plight. In fact, it was only Amaechi’s government of Rivers State that managed to supply us, on daily basis, good drinking water, which is not enough to go round the community and the governor came personally too to see things for himself”.
Sounding very angry, chief Okpabi, stated, “If the community fails to obtain justice against shell, we shall be very sad and unhappy”. ##
Jeff Oguike

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