Finally, some fifty years too late. Nigeria has said that oil companies should be obliged to pay compensation for degradation resulting from their exploration and production activities particularly in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

“The companies have an obligation beyond their exploration and production to restore degraded land to its original state,” junior petroleum minister Odein Ajumogobia told a conference on 50 years of discovery of oil in Nigeria.

“They have an obligation to pay compensation for damaged property in the area,” Ajumogobia said, without giving any figure or percentage. His comments were a reaction to a comment by Shell Country Chairman Basil Omiyi, who said Niger Delta development was not the role of the oil companies.

The governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, lamented the plight of the host communities and described as unfortunate the state of development in Oloibiri in particular where oil was first discovered by Shell over fifty years ago.

“Today, if you go back to Oloibiri, all of you here will be ashamed of this oil industry because Oloibiri still remains one of the most underdeveloped communities in Nigeria today and maybe in the whole world,” Sylva said.

Shame on you Shell…