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Cordaid NL
Private Sector Development Security and Justice

Dutch mediation in the Niger Delta is a success

On May 2, Shell Nigeria and leaders of the local Bodo community signed an agreement about the cleanup of oil spills. Cordaid welcomes this agreement wholeheartedly, and hopes that this success paves the way for further dialogue between the communities in the Niger Delta, oil companies and the Nigerian government.

Bodo is located in the Rivers district in the Niger Delta. The area stretches over 1000 acres. In 2008 and 2009, the area was heavily polluted by both operational errors and illegal wiretapping. Since 2004, Cordaid has been supporting civil society organizations in the Niger Delta. Cordaid made recommendations to the Dutch government in 2011 in support of initiatives towards dialogue about the oil spill between Shell and the local people in the Niger Delta. Read the report here.

Mediation

In 2013, Bert Ronhaar started as a mediator, at the request of the Nigerian government, Shell and the local people. Ronhaar was the ambassador to the Netherlands in Nigeria at that time.

Inemo Samiama, representative of local environmental organizations and co-mediator, comments: “This is a milestone, there is now no way back, we are confident that Shell and the national government will continue to work, so we can work together to restore the environment in Bodo.”

‘It is very good that the Netherlands was able to play this role in Bodo.’

Minister Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development: ‘It is very good that the Netherlands was able to play this role in Bodo. Hopefully, this example also leads to a dialogue that contributes to a solution acceptable to all parties in other contaminated places in the Niger Delta. This will do the affected population justice.’

The result of the mediation is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). A number of agreements have been stipulated in this memorandum: a plan for cleaning up and sanitizing the oil spill, a plan to prevent illegal oil tapping and proposals to further strengthen trust between all parties concerned. An example of this is a fund for socio-economic development of the area.

Compensation

In addition to this agreement, earlier this year Shell and the Bodo community agreed on a settlement of 70 million euros to compensate for damage suffered by the Bodo community.