The water in Koroama has been missing for the past six months. "First they sifted the river, then they started to burn the gas," says Kingsay Kwokwo, a village leader who no longer believes in the "social responsibility' touted by the large oil multinationals. In the corner of the Niger Delta, in the state of Bayelsa, in an area dominated by the presence of Royal Dutch Shell, MISNA is accompanied by a small group of human rights defenders. "Foreign companies promise millions of dollars in local development projects, but often the communities do not receive anything," said father Edward Obi, a missionary who manages the Center for Social and Corporate Responsibility (CSCR).
In the region of Gbaran-Ubie, where a new Shell - present in the region since 1936 - integrated oil and gas facility was inaugurated last June, which is expected to reach a capacity of 1 billion cubic meters of methane per day, or a quarter of the entire Nigerian production, next year. Hydrocarbons are refined on site before being sent to Bonny Island, a terminal known to the media for the million dollar kickbacks offered to politicians and officials by European and North American companies. In Koroama, however, the anger remains. The village has been gutted by two oil pipelines even though their construction was forbidden by a 2005 Nigerian government environmental sustainability study. "That document - says Father Edward - provides for Shell to ensure a system of potable water supply to partly compensate the population for the environmental damages". The youth from CSCR have reached 17 villages and interviewed hundreds of people. There is not a trace of the promised aqueducts, even if Shell continues to say that since the start of the work, the local communities have obtained "benefits" and "work". The villagers remember very well Shell promising that the smell and poison from the burning gas would have lasted little. "However, since June, the flames in the sky of the Delta have never turned off," said a traditional leader, who can see metal structures from his village. There is anger and disappointment even when the talk turns to jobs, "300 full time jobs," said Shell. "They bring technicians and workers from abroad," said the people of the villages. In May, the women's protests in the region of Gbaran-Ubie forced the governor of Bayelsa to mediate. To complete the "social projects" provided by an accord signed by Shell with the local communities, there will be time until December 31. "But this too - they tell MISNA - is an illusion".