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The  choice of Akassa Clan by Statoil Nigeria Limited (now Equinor) for the purpose of  its corporate social responsibility was deliberate and not by accident.  It was informed by the result of an experiment of the likely place an oil spill would impact if there was to be any in the course of their oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean, about 200 nautical miles off the coast of Akassa.  The company then sought for the assistance of Pro-Natura International PNI), a Bazillian non governmental organization to facilitate development.  A community-based organization, the Akassa Development Foundation (ADF) was floated to facilitate development activities that covered the entire Akassa clan that comprised of 19 autonomous communities and over 100 fishing satellite ports or settlement in the three barrier reefs of Cape Farmosa, Kpitibou and Tikpama (Ohoniweitoru). 

That was how the now world acclaimed ADF came into being and for over 20 years, there was justice, peace and unity as every community in the late 90s in the clan was given equal treatment in the development paradigm, using the yearly subvention of Equinor for the development of the Akassa coastal communities until the marriage came to a mutual and happy end in 2017.

But what is going on in the name of oil exploration by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is a different ball game right under the nose of the coastal communities of Akassa.  SPDC  has unilaterally selected only four communities of the Kingdom, namely Oginibiri, Okumbiri-beleu, Opu-Okumbiri and Sangana as the only coastal communities SPDC  considered relevant to meeting its host community status at the expense of their other remaining 15 communities of the kingdom. The Akassa National Council of Chiefs (the clan’s chiefs council) has protested Shell’s action which has made youth bodies of the communities restive, poised  for a showdown with Shell, a thing unheard of in the era of Statoil (Equinor).

The Council pointed out that, without prejudice to Shell’s  inclusion of other coastal communities of Bayelsa state bordering its areas of operation, all the 19 autonomous  communities of Akassa Kingdom are coastal communities bordering either the Atlantic Ocean or the estuaries of the Rivers Nun, Sangana and Fishtown all of which empty into the Atlantic. It has called for dialogue between the ANCC and the SPDC, for a solution to be arrived at by resolving the problem through inclusion of the other coastal communities of the kingdom, even  under a graduated scale of impact assessment  of likely oil spill from Shell’s  exploration activities.


“The earlier Shell discards its cunning and deceptive MOU with local communities, the better for its exploration at the mouth of the River Nun. Shell should heed the clarion call of the ANNC for the inclusion of the other coastal communities of the kingdom under a graduated scale of impact assessment of likely oil spill from its exploration activities, failing which its exploration should be stopped by any means possible, preferably through legal means, so that Shell should not turn our hitherto peaceful Akassa communities and youths into a theatre of war.   And that is the bitter truth!”

Oil companies from the Scandinavian countries are poles apart from those oil companies of British and American origin when it comes to corporate social responsibility. The latter companies use the deceptive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a mere agreement for few selected communities in an engagement that is exclusive than inclusive and breeds discontent, jealousy and communal strifes.  From MOU, Shell has further graduated it to  what is now known as Global Memorandum of Understanding which has nothing global in it , but a mere locally contrived  agreement with global coatings to deceive poor rural communities!

The earlier Shell discards its cunning and deceptive MOU with local communities, the better for its exploration at the mouth of the River Nun. Shell should heed the clarion call of the ANCC for the inclusion of the other coastal communities of the kingdom under a graduated scale of impact assessment of likely oil spill from its exploration activities, failing which its exploration should be stopped by any means possible, preferably through legal means, so that Shell will not turn our hitherto peaceful Akassa communities and youths into a theatre of war.   And that is the bitter truth!


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By ecko

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