Nigeria to shut refineries, seaport to demand clean-up

Nigerians plan to shutdown two oil refineries and a seaport in demand of an oil spill clean-up.

Nigeria to shut refineries, seaport to demand clean-up

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigerians in the oil-rich delta region are threatening to shut down two oil refineries and a seaport in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, to protest what they describe as government's failure to clean up of their community following years of oil spills.

"We gave the Nigerian government 90 days ultimatum during the commemoration of the 2nd anniversary of UNEP report and that has expired," National Coordinator of the Ogoni Solidarity Forum (NSF) Celestine AkpoBarie told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

"So, tomorrow Ogonis would be shutting down all economic activities at Onne seaport and the two Port Harcourt refineries," he threatened.

The seaport and the refineries are around Eleme in Port Harcourt.

Ogoni, a tribe occupying three local government areas of Rivers State, gained international attention in the early 1990s in the heat of their face-off with the oil giant Shell.

At the request of the Nigerian government, the UN Environment Project (UNEP) had in 2011 conducted a research and issued a report detailing the impacts of oil explorations in Ogoniland since 1958.

While affirming that oil activities have seriously damaged the ecosystem in the community, including releasing intolerable hydrocarbon into their water and benzene into the air, UNEP recommended immediate clean-up of the place and adequate compensations for those affected.

AkpoBarie said the government has refused to implement the UNEP recommendations more than two years after they were made.

Asked if security agencies are aware of their plans, he retorted: "We don't need police permission to demonstrate against the devastation of our land. We want government to implement that report immediately!"

AkpoBarie sidestepped questions about how they plan to carry out the threat.

"We have already contracted some of the tankers expected to load fuel at the refineries and at seaport to do the job for us," a source within the community told AA on condition of anonymity.

"You won't know who that is. We will block the gates with heavy tankers while the drivers vanish in thin air. That is just one of the plans that you can know," he added.

The threat, if carried out, would have an immediate impact on Nigeria's oil-dependent economy and may affect fuel availability in the short term.

Nigeria has four refineries which work far below their capacities.

Beside the two in Port Harcourt, the two others are located in Kaduna in the northwest and Warri in the south.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2013, 09:58