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Erhobaro’s Cry for Justice


Erhobaro’s Cry for Justice

Finegirl, despite her playful name, finds little humor in the stark realities of life in Erhobaro, where nothing seems fine due to the presence and actions of Shell in the community.

"Erhobaro community alone hosts 27 wellheads, with Shell drilling oil from these different locations right here in our community. To put this into perspective, these oil wellheads are actually situated on people's farms. In fact, Oil Well 27 is located right on my mother's land. When Shell first came to our community, they approached and negotiated with every landowner whose property they needed. They assured them that if they released their land to Shell, they would be financially taken care of for the rest of their lives. Now, over 15 years later, my mother hasn't received a single dime from Shell. She has even relocated to a neighbouring community, realising that Erhobaro has nothing more to offer her. Everything she worked for in her younger years has been taken away."


Finegirl's anger and frustration with Shell's activities in Erhobaro run deep. She paints a bleak picture of the community's deteriorating health, marked by high blood pressure and other ailments. "The relentless noise and powerful vibrations from the oil well don't allow us to sleep. Years of sleepless nights have led to my high blood pressure, and many others in the community share the same fate. When those oil well engines start up, communication in the community becomes nearly impossible. People have to shout to be heard over that deafening noise. Another major health issue in the community is constant diarrhea. With the soil no longer fertile, the cassava we harvest lacks nutrients, so we eat it as is. Unfortunately, the result of consuming nutrient-poor cassava is constant diarrhea. How long must we endure these conditions because our community welcomed Shell?"


Although the community has installed tap water, it remains insufficient for all residents. Moreover, there is little confidence in the quality of the tap water due to frequent oil spillages, a recurring issue that poses a significant threat to both their water source and overall health. Finegirl emphasises the growing financial burden of having to purchase sachet water for drinking. Her family alone buys about 10 bags of water weekly.

Finegirl concludes with a poignant reflection "Shell's actions have made it abundantly clear that the lives of Erhobaro residents hold no significance to them. They've placed these oil wells in our midst but neglected to employ our youths. Erhobaro locals should have been a priority in their employment plans. Yet, we face rampant youth unemployment. Exacerbated by the financial burdens imposed by Shell, sending children to school is now a challenge, given the absence of schools in the community, has become an even heavier burden. We desperately need to be saved from Shell."


Oluwakemi Akinremi-Segun is a Development Communications Specialist, Brand and Fundraising Communications Strategist. Kemi is also a good Storyteller and currently leads the Communications Hub at ActionAid Nigeria.