The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, is leaving no stone unturned to reconcile Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) with all the shoreline communities in the Niger Delta who are affected by the Spillage which occurred on the 11th December, 2012.
Affirming her determination to find an amicable solution to the challenges posed by the Bonga Oil Spillage, the minister said she would meet with all relevant Stakeholders with a view to finding a lasting solution to the incident.
Mrs. Mallam was speaking at a meeting with Shell in her office in Abuja, when members of the corporation visited her.
It will be recalled that leaders of shoreline communities of Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states last week paid a courtesy call on the minister, complaining against Shell over the handling of the Bonga Oil Spillage, which they said had had devastating impact on marine and aquatic life, thereby affecting fishing activities, their main source of livelihood.
The meeting with Shell is a follow-up to the promise the minister made to the affected communities that she will consult with all relevant stakeholders with a view to finding a lasting and amicable solution to the problem.
Mrs. Mallam said that further to her meeting with Shell, she will also visit the affected communities and persuade those already in Court to explore other peaceful means of settlement of the dispute and ensure that the matter is brought to a peaceful resolution within the shortest possible time and to the satisfaction of all parties.
She once again used the occasion to commend the shoreline communities for their peaceful conduct over the matter, explaining that the prevailing peaceful atmosphere will accelerate the pace for an amicable resolution of the problem.
Speaking earlier at the meeting, leader of delegation and Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, Mr. Mathew Somonu, told the minister that the corporation was willing to find an amicable solution to the problem, adding that her intervention will help accelerate the process.
While congratulating the minister on her appointment and Permanent Secretary Mrs. Rabi Shuaibu Jimeta, who just resumed duty in the ministry, the Shell chief Executive expressly assured the duo that it was possible for the regulator (ministry) and the operator (Shell) to work together for the progress of the corporation in particular, and Nigeria in general.
The Shell chief who regretted the incident told the minister that the spillage was not an act of corporate irresponsibility, but a direct accident arising from its operations.
Mr. Somonu used the occasion to appeal to all parties involved in the incident to set aside the blame game and direct efforts towards an amicable solution.