Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Hundreds of Protesters Occupy Shell Plant in Nigeria, 11 Days and Counting

Popular
Oil in the Niger Delta. Amnesty International Canada

By Andy Rowell

The decades-long struggle for social and environmental justice in the Niger Delta continues, largely unseen by the wider world.

On Aug. 11, hundreds of people from the Niger Delta stormed the Belema flow station gas plant owned by Shell in the Rivers State region of the Delta. The plant transports crude oil to the Bonny Light export terminal, from where it is shipped overseas.


Their list of demands could have been written by their parents and grandparents who fought the company before them. It is the same list of grievances for which the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa campaigned for—and ultimately died for—in the mid-nineties.

As Reuters reported earlier this month, "the protesters said they were not benefiting from the region's oil wealth and wanted an end to the oil pollution that has ruined much of the land."

One of the protest leaders, Anthony Bouye, told Reuters, "I am a graduate for about eight years without a job. Shell won't employ me despite us having so much wealth in our backyard."

In response, Shell spun its usual story of how its commitment "to the welfare of host communities in the Niger Delta remains unshaken."

Some 11 days on and the protests are continuing with hundreds still occupying the plant, with Shell still not able to access the site.

And now Shell is beginning to put pressure on the protesters to leave, saying their safety could be at risk.

"The illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State has safety implications both for the people at the facilities and nearby communities," the company's Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, said in a statement on Sunday.

Shell added the occupation "exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences."

In response, the local community have vowed to stay until Shell hands over the operation of the plant to a locally-controlled company.

"We want Shell to hand over the operations of the flow station to Belema Oil Company because it appreciates our challenges and needs," community leader Godson Egbelekro told AFP.

However, Shell is unlikely to cede ownership of a key asset. So for the people of the Niger Delta, nothing changes. The vortex of pollution, injustice and poverty continues.

Hopefully, Shell will not resort to violence and colluding with the military to clear the site. Otherwise, once again it will have blood on its hands.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less
The office of Rover.com sits empty with employees working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12 in Seattle, Washington. John Moore / Getty Images

The office may never look the same again. And the investment it will take to protect employees may force many companies to go completely remote. That's after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for how workers can return to the office safely.

Read More Show Less
Frederic Edwin Church's The Icebergs reveal their danger as a crush vessel is in the foreground of an iceberg strewn sea, 1860. Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Scientists and art historians are studying art for signs of climate change and to better understand the ways Western culture's relationship to nature has been altered by it, according to the BBC.

Read More Show Less
Esben Østergaard, co-founder of Lifeline Robotics and Universal Robots, takes a swab in the World's First Automatic Swab Robot, developed with Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu, professor at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at The University of Southern Denmark. The University of Southern Denmark

By Richard Connor

The University of Southern Denmark on Wednesday announced that its researchers have developed the world's first fully automatic robot capable of carrying out throat swabs for COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Jackson Family Wines in California discovered that a huge amount of carbon pollution was caused by manufacturing wine bottles. Edsel Querini / Getty Images

Before you pour a glass of wine, feel the weight of the bottle in your hand. Would you notice if it were a few ounces lighter? Jackson Family Wines is betting that you won't.

Read More Show Less
The SpaceX crew capsule will launch out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX

After a minor setback, a new era in space travel and tourism is set to launch this weekend.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A former Federal Reserve board of governors member on Thursday called on her former colleagues to stop using Covid-19 relief funds to bail out the "dying" fossil fuel industry. Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

A former Federal Reserve board of governors member on Thursday called on her former colleagues to stop using Covid-19 relief funds to bail out the "dying" fossil fuel industry, calling the decision a threat to the planet's climate and a misguided use of taxpayer money.

Read More Show Less