In a shocking revelation, it has come to light that former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, managed to secure a staggering $300 million out of court settlement for the oil spillage that severely impacted the Ejama Ebubu community situated in Ogoni Island.
This settlement was achieved following former president Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the NNPC (Nigeria Petroleum Development Company) to take over operations of Oil Mining Lease 11 (OML11) from Shell Development Company (SPDC) in 2019.
However, what adds to the dismay is that the intended beneficiaries, the Ogoni people, have not received any portion of the compensation despite it being paid out. Investigations have revealed that Wike orchestrated the funds’ misappropriation by channeling the $300 million into a personal account, which was later split into multiple private accounts.
Governor Siminalayi Fubara, who succeeded Wike and served as the Rivers State accountant general, was aware of the compensation money and its handling, suggesting possible complicity. To conceal any potential investigation into the whereabouts of the money, Fubara retained commissioners for Finance, Attorney General, and commissioner for works who were part of Wike’s administration.
OML 11, encompassing 33 oil and gas fields and Kidney Island as its support base, is estimated to produce 250,000 barrels per day at full capacity. The oil spillage dispute between the community and Shell Development Company dates back to the 1970s, culminating in the Rivers State government, under Wike’s leadership, acquiring SDPC’s 45% stake in OML 11.
Following a favorable Supreme Court judgment in favor of the community, the compensation deal was struck between Rivers State and NNPC to settle the oil spillage claims with $300 million. Regrettably, the funds cannot be traced to any state government account, as it was transferred to a private account designated by Wike, possibly ending up in various private accounts.