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Field Report #165: Shell rages on in Ikot Ada Udo
Thursday, 18 October 2007
ImageLocation:    Ikot Ada Udo Community, Ikot Abasi LGA, Akwa Ibom State

HIGHLIGHTS
•    “Corked” oil wellhead belonging to Shell spewing crude for almost 6 months.
•    Large expanses of farmlands destroyed
 

INTRODUCTION
Ikot Ada Udo, a quiet community in Ikot Abasi Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria, is located N 4° 41′and E 7° 40.9′. The inhabitants are predominantly farmers and farm produce traders who largely depend on their arable farmlands as their major source of livelihood.
It plays host to, among others, the oil wellhead located within its Otuoh Ntan farmlands. The wellhead belongs to Shell Petroleum Development Company

The Ongoing Destruction
ERA monitors visited the community as a follow up on the alert received concerning the failing wellhead (see the ERA Alert #2 )
They gathered that in April 2007, some farmers in the community noticed dripping liquid from the wellhead and alerted the entire community of the danger. (Apparently, it was not the first time this was happening. According to the village head, Ete Idung Emmanuel, the same wellhead had malfunctioned and caused spills in 1999, 2004. On those occasions, he said officials from Shell came to cork the wellhead after repeated requests had been made. He also said that on those occasions, the spills were not cleaned and no compensation for the damaged lands was made.)

Although reports were made to Shell on the failed wellhead in April 2007, nothing has been done to repair the failed oil wellhead, or to contain the fast spreading spill that has destroyed large areas of farmlands and rendered produce useless.

ERA monitors that visited the scene were shocked to find that wellhead was still jetting out crude with such intensity that the noise could be heard from about 200 metres away. They met, among others, Mrs. Eno Ezekiel, a 32-year-old widow, who was staring helplessly at her cassava farm, which was relentlessly besieged by the flowing crude. Her words: “I do not know what to do now. This is my only source of livelihood and income and as you can see, there is nothing that can be harvested from here. Everything is gone.”

As a result of Shell’s refusal to give heed to the demands of the community people on remediation and compensation, the community has dragged Shell to court seeking to compel Shell to carry out clean up and remediation of their farmlands, repair the failed wellhead and pay adequate compensation for loss of livelihoods.

See more pictures of the devastation below:



RECOMMENDATIONS:
•    Shell should be compelled to stop foot dragging and take immediate steps to clean up the spill in all the affected lands in Ikot Ada Udo and adjoining communities.
•    Compensation should be paid to the farmers whose farms and crops have been destroyed by the spill, and indeed all members of the community who depend on the land for survival.
•    The Government should pay more than lip service in taking concrete steps to ensure Shell accedes to the demands of the people of Ikot Ada Udo.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
•    Send a letter to your legislator (Local Government, State and Federal) to call Shell Petroleum Development Company to order.
•    Demand a clean up of the polluted farmlands in Ikot Ada Udo.
•    Write to Shell and demand that it should immediately halt the spread of the spill, repair its faulty wellhead and compensate the community and the people for the pollution of their environment and abrupt termination of their means of livelihood.

 
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© 2007 Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
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