Seized by local populations, the Network of Free Civil Society Organisations for Good Governance in Gabon (ROLBG) has just brought Perenco before the Port-Gentil Court of First Instance. The Franco-British oil group is accused of widespread violation of various laws relating to hydrocarbons and the environment in the department of Étimboué in western Gabon.
The 5,700 or so inhabitants of the Étimboué peninsula in western Gabon have shifted up a gear in the fight they have been waging for the past few months against the oil activities of the Perenco company. They have joined forces with the Network of Free Civil Society Organisations for Good Governance in Gabon (ROLBG). It is within the framework of this coalition that a complaint against Perenco was filed on January 15th, 2021 with the public prosecutor at the Court of First Instance of Port-Gentil, an estuary town also located in western Gabon.
The filing of this complaint was preceded by an observation mission carried out from 9 to 16 October 2020 in the Étimboué area. This field visit enabled the experts of this organisation to make alarming findings. “The environmental impact of the extraction activities of the company Perenco mainly affects air quality, water quality, fishing resources and the health of the population,” said Anges Kevin Nzigou, ROLBG’s lawyer. The Civil Society Organisation reserves the right to take civil action to compensate the populations who are victims of the socio-economic impacts of the said crimes and for the payment of community funds, which have never been collected.
Perenco remains silent
This legal offensive comes after an alert launched on the internet in November 2020. In a 46-minute video entitled “Étimboué or the Dictatorship of Oil”, the inhabitants of this locality presented the oil spill and oil spills, which polluted water and land, making agriculture and fishing almost impracticable.
While the Gabonese government promises to “follow this loan case”, the main accused continues to maintain silence. Perenco has not yet responded officially to the accusations of the communities and even less to questions from the media.