Nigerian Community Appeals to UN Over Dangerous Oil Exploration

A Southern Nigerian community recently appealed to the U.N. regarding the allegedly dangerous oil exploration performed in its environment by major international oil firms, including Nigerian Agip Oil Company and Shell.

Bayelsa State’s Nembe community, in an appeal signed by Nengi James, the oil and gas committee chairman of the Nembe Kingdom, asks for a payment of $1 billion from the oil firms for years of damage to its environment.

According to the community, the many years of exploration in its community led to non-stop conditions of dangerous gas flaring, reckless pollution and sickness from oil spills and industrial waste.

The petition states that, even if the oil-rich community provides more than 200,000 oil barrels daily, it still does not have sufficient electricity and drinkable water, because of pollution in the waters surrounding the area.

Moreover, the community claimed that the firms deprived them of employment as well as income for the damage caused in their environment that negatively affected the local fish populations.

The Nembe Kingdom’s residents said in the petition that they have reason to plead since they are already seriously hurt by the sloppy treatment given to them by the oil firms operating in their community. They said that if they are not able to seek attention to their current situation, there is a chance that they will not be able to tell their story after several years since they have already been harmed by the impact of oil spill, gas flaring and improper toxic waste and material disposal practices within their community. Furthermore, they said in the petition that it became crucial to let the world know of the problem in its community before it is too late.

The community said that the result of oil exploration in its environment has tremendously reduced the average life span of its people to only 40 years, which is very low and requires an investigation.

Last April 13, the Nembe kingdom reported an oil spill from Shell Petroleum Development Company’s oil well 62.