The report of the joint venture study by the United Nations Environmental Programme and the federal government recently presented to President Goodluck Jonathan has copiously indicted the oil prospecting companies, with particular reference to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
The study, which focused on the impact of the activities of Shell in Ogoniland, River State, where oil was first struck in the 1950s, claims that it will take over 30 years to clean and mitigate the negative effects of the massive and continual oil spillage which had devastated the people of Ogoniland since these years.
And as if to refute the report of that study in a recent television speech, a top official of the firm had blamed most of the oil spillages in Ogoni land to the activities of oil vandals, even though he also did not deny the glaring responsibility now facing his multinational outfit in redressing the apparent problem in conjunction with other stake holders.
LEADERSHIP learnt that this startling revelation would have happened much earlier and addressed by the stakeholders at a much cheaper cost and zero embarrassment, like the recent Gulf of Mexico spillage in America
which invoked even the reaction of the President of the United States of America (USA), Barrack Obama, if there was no deliberate design to cover up the alarming disaster before now.
President Goodluck Jonathan, while reacting to the voluminous report which dwelt on the unfortunate environment degradation and human rights neglects of in estimable dimensions posed by the said oil
spillage, promised that his administration would subject the report to a rigorous scrutiny in order to assist the people of Ogoniland in mitigating its effect.
However, many observers said that oil spillage did not occur only in Ogoniland. They pointed out that similar spills were witnessed in other oil producing communities and/or nationalities, like the western Izon, the Itsekiri, the Isoko, the Ndokwa, the Urhobo and others in the states of Edo, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa , among others.
LEADERSHIP reliably gathered that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had made courageous attempt in recent times to tackle oil spillage in the state with tight security network put in place to monitor activities of persons suspected to be vandals.
Sources told our reporter that the governor was angered by horrendous activities of the vandals who were a major cause of oil spillage.
Chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. Sunny Ogefere, told journalists that the governor was poised to stifle the activities of the vandals who were making life unbearable for inhabitants of oil producing communities in the state, and, therefore, warned them to desist from their nefarious activities.
In the last few months, the activities of vandals have caused panic in residents of oil producing communities who had to cry to the state government to come to their aid.
Police spokesman in the state, Charles Muka, confirmed that over 30 suspected persons had been arrested and were currently being interrogated.