By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN) has voiced concerns over the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited’s (SPDC) divestment deal, urging that it must prioritise the welfare of Nigerians, especially those in the host communities.
The Executive Director of NCSCN, Amb. Blessing Akinlosotu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, SPDC’s decision to sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary to Renaissance, has raised apprehensions about the potential environmental and social consequences of the transaction.
Akinlosotu emphasised the lingering challenges faced by communities in the South South region due to past oil exploration activities.
“This move serves as an unclean criminal getaway for the multinational corporation, leaving behind a legacy of environmental devastation, atrocities, and unresolved liabilities,” remarked Akinlosotu.
He pointed out that the completion of the transaction is pending approvals from the Federal Government and other conditions.
Akinlosotu called attention to serious issues related to abandonment, decommissioning, and relinquishment costs associated with aging assets and ongoing environmental disasters in the Niger Delta.
The Executive Director raised concerns about various court cases by stakeholders, farmers, and host communities against SPDC, suggesting that these issues might be overlooked through the divestment deals.
Akinlosotu appealed to the Federal Government to withhold approval of the deal until thorough visits are conducted to host communities, ensuring compliance with Nigerian and international laws on divestment, abandonment, and decommissioning.
“The bottom line of our position is, we say no to this divestment deal as currently being pursued by SPDC. Any attempt to proceed without satisfying the interest of the Nigerian people shall be met with stiff resistance”.
Akinlosotu pledged NCSCN’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of the affected communities.
NAN recalls that Shell had reached an agreement to sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary, SPDC to Renaissance, a consortium of five companies comprising four exploration and production companies based in Nigeria and an international energy group.
Renaissance is formed of ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith and Petrolin.
The SPDC JV holds 15 oil mining leases for petroleum operations onshore and 3 for petroleum operations in shallow water in Nigeria. It is operated by SPDC.
The company is still a major investor in Nigeria’s energy sector through its Deepwater and Integrated Gas businesses. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Deborah Coker/Isaac Aregbesola