Saturday Independent (Nigeria): Claims to environmental degradation, highly exaggerated – Shell Manager: “The drilling manager, however, noted that people of the South-south who still create Nigeria’s wealth, had every cause to feel aggrieved that they were not befitting enough from the oil resources under their feet.”: Saturday 10 Sep 2005
By Terna Doki
As agitations by the Niger-Delta people for resource control and derivation continue to elicit arguments, an oil manager, Mr. Dondo Ahire has said that claims to environmental damage were highly exaggerated.
Ahire, a drilling manager with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said this while speaking with journalists in Gboko, Benue State.
He contended that besides the bogus claims to environmental degradation by people of the South-south, the host communities caused 60 percent of the said damage.
Said he, “The level of environmental damage is much lower than what they have made people to believe. It is not true. It is far exaggerated by a large margin. Even where there is environmental damage, statistics show that 60 percent of the pollution that takes place is caused by the host communities.”
According to him, members of the host communities cut pipelines to siphon fuel or try to harvest pipelines of a manageable size to use them for construction works.
The drilling manager, however, noted that people of the South-south who still create Nigeria’s wealth, had every cause to feel aggrieved that they were not befitting enough from the oil resources under their feet.
He said that the anger of the people was justified since the place lacks sufficient infrastructure to convince them that they were benefiting enough from Nigeria’s oil wealth which God embedded in their soil.
Ahire said that many reasons accounted for the failure of the South-south to benefit fully from the oil wealth in terms of infrastructural development, nothing that the Federal Government had severally attempted to redress the problem through OMPADEC and NDDC.
He expressed regret that the bodies had failed to justify the enormous resources government had pumped into them over the years.
Ahire cautioned that unless the attitude of diverting resources meant for the development of the Niger-Delta by a privileged few was checked, a rise in derivation to whatever percentage would still leave the region more impoverished.
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