- The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has kicked off the second phase of its grassroots campaign against crude oil theft and illegal oil refining activities in Ogoni land, Rivers State. The first phase of the campaign in 2014 reached over 7,000 community people from Eleme, Gokana, Khana, and Tai Local Government Areas.
“The 2015 campaign is targeted at Ogoni youths for whom we have designed some alternative empowerment programmes such as the ‘Ogoni LIVEwire’ which in January trained 105 Ogoni youths in different skills and offered them start-up funds and support,” the Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, said.
- Speaking at the launch in Biara community, the Director, Inspectorate and Enforcement in the state Ministry of Environment, Charles George, commended the people for their efforts towards reducing pipeline vandalism. He reiterated that meaningful development can only take place in Ogoni land if crude oil theft activities end, and assured the people that government was working with relevant stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
“Crude oil theft and artisanal refining are criminal acts that are not only against the law but capable of mortgaging the future of the community,” said. Melvin Ododo, a Principal Environmental Scientist who represented the Zonal Director of NOSDRA, of the state at the event.