The Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday commended Dutch oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), for compensating Bodo community in Ogoni land over oil spillage.
The company, this week, agreed to pay compensation to thousands of residents of the Niger Delta community for what it agreed was two “deeply regrettable” oil spills in 2008.
Shell agreed to pay a total of $83.3 million with “an individual payment to each claimant, who accepts the settlement agreement in compensation for losses arising from the spills”, the company said in a statement Wednesday, effectively bringing an end to a three-year legal tussle between the oil giant and the community, which comprises mostly of local fishermen.
Reacting to the news, Saraki, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, recalled that in October, 2012, he led members of the committee on an unscheduled oversight visit to the Niger-Delta region to inspect and assess the impact of oil spills in the area.
However, he stated that as commendable as the Shell’s action is, there should be a sustainable clear-cut policy on oil spill management.
“After seeing first-hand the level of environmental degradation brought about by the oil spills, and how the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians living in the affected areas were negatively impacted, myself and other members of the committee made a firm commitment that we will do everything in our power to ensure that the oil-spills did not go unpunished, and that those whose subsistence had been affected did not go uncompensated”, he said.