Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth Nigeria

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Field Report #175: Shell pays deaf ears to community's cry for relocation

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LOCATION: Gana Agbarha Otor, Ughelli North L.G.A, Delta State.


  • Children escape death as fence collapses.
  • Shell given 14 days ultimatum to relocate families.
  • Shell and community now in court


FROM:                   MURPHY AKIRI
DATE:                    APRIL 2ND 2008.
·       children escape death as fence collapses
·       Shell given 14 days ultimatum to relocate families
·       community in fear of the unknown
·       shell and community in court
Gana Agbarha Otor is a community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. The major occupations of the people are farming and fishing. The community houses Shell’s ERIEMU Flow station which is said to have the biggest manifold in West Africa .         
John Hart Tagar
Lord Mayor of Urhobo Land
I worked for Shell and pensioned after 30 years of meritorious service as a senior staff and I worked in different sections. I came home sometime early last year (2007) and met my children outside refusing to go into the house. When I asked them to follow me in they refused to go up with me because they said they were afraid. But for the cracks I saw on my walls and floor I won’t have taken them serious.
I rushed out to the location where Shell was drilling which was close and I had to stop the workers from further work and asked that they come to see my house. There were mobile policemen there but I was mad with anger and had to stop them from work. I wrote to Shell asking that they come to see the damage the drilling has done to my house and there were others too in the community affected by the work.
After the second letter I wrote to Shell, SPDC sent a Joint Investigation Venture (JIV) team who visited my house in February 2007 to ascertain the extent of damage done to my three buildings during the drilling of Eriemu Location 3. The (JIV) team was led by Mr. Arhiodere of SPDC. They came with cameras both video and still cameras and they took photos of the damages done to my properties and they asked what I wanted? I told them I don’t want money but that they should relocate me and my family because the whole building already has structural problems as a result of their drilling and I can’t risk the lives of my family. It is over a year that the JIV team visited and till now nothing has been done. Just two Sundays ago the side fence of my house, one of which the JIV saw and took photos of, collapsed. I just thank God because the children were playing close to the fence and had just left the area when it came down.
I have given SPDC 14 days ultimatum to relocate my family counting from 25th March 2008. At the end of the 14 days if nothing is done then we will have to battle it by force.
Gana Community.
I am a trader and my house is opposite the Eriemu location 3, here in Gana Agbarha Otor. My child gave birth at about the time SPDC was drilling the well 3. The child, a boy, was 2weeks old then and was having this continuous shock because of the vibration and sounds coming out from their (SPDC) operations at the location. I had to run to the Lord Mayor to report this matter and now the boy is a year and four months old but when ever there is a sound Godstime will start running; even if it is the sound of a bike starting.
My house is also affected with the cracks. We have complained to SPDC but we have not seen any result. We are living in fear because we don’t know whose house will collapse next.
Prince Omote Osikote
Gana Agbarha Otor
Community Chairman
We are peace loving people but SPDC has taken us for fools. They came to the community to drill and in the process have caused a lot of damage. When it happened we got an estate valuer to value the whole damage and even SPDC came to look at the whole damages done to our houses, poultries and even our wells. The waters were affected and this they saw when they came to investigate our claims. Yet they have refused to compensate our people over birds that were lost as a result of vibration caused by their explosives as well as chemicals they used. Our people are complaining of sicknesses that were not found in our community and they have refused to come make amends by relocating those whose houses were more affected like that of the Lord Mayor.
Our people are living in great fear because we don’t know if we may be visited by earthquake soon. I believe more houses in addition to the Mayor’s house may sink or fall because their foundations have been affected.
We the Gana Agbarha Otor community has taken SPDC to court over this issue and the hearing is coming up on 21st of April at the Federal High Court 2 Benin.    
1. Shell should heed the cries of the people and relocate them before any life is lost.
2. Compensation should be paid the affected community people.
3. Shell should ensure adequate and safe distance is maintained between houses and drilling sites.

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