Clean-up activities for the Phase 2 Bodo remediation Project restarted on Monday 20 January 2020, with community workers very enthusiastic and ready to work. However, a few incidences of rival cult clashes and fear of possible reprisals have left the workers in fear as anyone could be a victim of stray bullets.
The Directorate office of the Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI) carried out a survey on the security situation in Bodo community of Rivers State to ascertain the impact of the Project on the security of the Community as well as the level of widespread insecurity and its likely negative effect on the successful completion of the Project.
The survey showed a high level of security concern in the Community and tensions from probable cult reprisals and counter reprisals. This could impact negatively on the Project, despite the resolve of key stakeholders to remediate and restore the mangrove ecosystem within the Bodo creek.
A community youth leader working on the Project, who spoke to our correspondent on anonymity briefly explained the cause of the security tension in the community and stated thus:
“There are about three warring gang groups currently in Bodo community, two of these groups joined forces and expelled one group from the Community. This has led to fears and tension on the ordinary citizens in the Community, given the probability of the exiled group staging a reprisal on the other gang groups in the Community; in which case, an innocent person may be a victim of their gun duel. As recently as 22 January 2020, the exiled group came in through one of the watersides and stole about three speed boats and six outboard engines which affected the output of the clean-up Project the following day”.
He further stated:
“It is therefore my wish and appeal that the leadership of Bodo will take responsibility of our collective safety, and collaborate with necessary government security agencies to restore peace and security in the community, especially for the success of the cleanup and Bodo-Bonny road projects simultaneously ongoing in the Community, which will contribute significantly to the economic development of Bodo”.
– Anonymous Bodo Community worker.
The BMI Bodo remediation Project is the largest mangrove ecosystem restoration project in the world, and a safe environment is key to its overall success. Hence the need for all, more especially, the Bodo Community, government security agencies, and Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited to work out an actionable plan to curb insecurity in the Community that may snow-ball into a full blown crises and also affect the Project deliverables, if not addressed.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria, through the BMI is fully committed to the Bodo clean-up Project and will continue to engage key stakeholders to ensure a successful remediation process.
In 2013 the former Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Bert Ronhaar, took a personal interest in the Bodo case and he sought to assist in bringing about the clean-up, remediation, and restoration of oil impacted sites in Bodo. His consultation with the Nigerian government, SPDC, and the Bodo community led to the establishment of the Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI) which was set up to oversee and mediate throughout the clean-up project.
For more information on the phase 2 Bodo Clean-up/Mediation Initiative. Please contact:
Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @BMI_BodoCleanup | Facebook: BMI Bodo Cleanup