The Niger Delta Congress has demanded $75bn-compensation from the Nigerian government and oil companies involved in exploration in the Niger Delta.
The group made the demand in a reaction to Amnesty International’s report on Shell’s oil pollution in the Niger Delta, which indicated that only 10 per cent of the clean-up fund released.
The report was released by Friends of the Earth Europe, Environmental Rights Action, Milieudefensie, and Amnesty International on 18 June, 2020.
The report noted that with less than 10 per cent of the project funds released and just 11 per cent of impacted sites covered so far, the federal government’s implementation of the 2011 UN Environment Programme report was a failure.
The acting spokesman for NDC, Adokiye Oyagiri, in a statement said at the current pace, the first phase of the clean-up meant to last five years would take 40 years.
It noted the current pace would extend the 30-year period estimated by UNEP, for the Ogoni environment to return to its natural state, to 70 years.
The report also emphasised the shoddy work being done, claiming that 11 out of the 16 companies contracted for the purpose not having any experience in environmental remediation.
The NDC said it was aware that the Ogoni clean-up was a ruse to sneak back into Ogoni for the resumption of oil exploration, as the Ogoni field is among the 57 oil fields being auctioned by the government.
“This is also why four years after the launch, the people still continue to die from consuming polluted water,” Oyagiri stated.
“The Nigerian state is simply gambling with the lives of the Niger Delta people.”
Meanwhile, according to oil production data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in its October 2017 report, 32bn barrels of oil valued at N118tn was mined from the Niger Delta between 1961 and 2014.
From the figure, the NDC calculated that the Niger Delta earned a meagre N16tn as “derivation.” The NDC estimated from the NBS figures that the Nigerian government was indebted to the Niger Delta people in excess of N70tn.
The statement said: “As a result of the devastating consequences of oil production, the NDC is seeking a $75bn-compensation for the Niger Delta people. The NDC, therefore, calls for the immediate commencement of an environmental assessment of the entire Niger Delta region, and a subsequent comprehensive clean-up of the region which will be funded by all oil exploration companies in the region in collaboration with the Nigerian government. This exercise will be supervised by representatives and nominees of the Niger Delta people.”
The NDC reiterated its June 15 call for prospective bidders for new oil fields in the region to desist and urged the Niger Delta people “to organise themselves to resist any such incursion on their lands until the demands of the people are met.”
It added, “The Niger Delta Congress also uses this opportunity to call for the immediate convening of a Niger Delta Peoples Conference — a sovereign national conference of the ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta region — to enable the people of the region decide their economic and political future.”