The Bayelsa State Government on behalf of farmers whose means of livelihoods were destroyed by the April 15 oil spill from Shell’s Kolo Creek manifold in Otuasega, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, have concluded plans to initiate a legal action to obtain justice.
It was gathered that the move, an initiative of the farmers, followed the refusal of Shell and regulatory agencies to review the report of the April 16 Joint Investigation Visit(JIV) conducted on the oil spill site, which allegedly excluded impacted areas like farms, fish ponds and other cash crops.
The aggrieved farmers, numbering over 50, complained that all efforts to draw the attention of Shell and the regularity bodies to their plight had fallen on deaf ears and have therefore taken their plight to the state government to seek legal redress.
A fish farmer, Aku Aseimo, whose three ponds were impacted, said on Monday that the affected farmers decided to seek legal redress due to Shell’s hard-line posture over payment of compensation.
He said; “this is a clear case of the strong and rich oil firm against the weak and poor farmers. They are claiming that the spill was caused by sabotage and abandoned the polluted environment.
“The regulations which they rely on to absolve themselves clearly stated that the operator of the field where pollution occurs cleans up the site irrespective of the cause but SPDC officials declined to capture our farms as impacted areas.
“We have always believed that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man, and we shall tell the courts that the spill was as a result of negligence by SPDC surveillance contractors deployed to guard the facility.