11 December 2011, Sweetcrude, UGHELLI – COMMOTION broke out at Eruemukohwarien oil community in Ughelli North local government area of Delta state over a forty five million (N45 million) largesse to the people for a gas pipeline project by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
The bungalow residence of the president-general of the community was damaged by angry youths.
The protesting youths accused their elders and leaders, some of who had fled the village for fear of being lynched to death, of misappropriating the N45 million “community assistance” to the oil town.
One of the aggrieved youths said, “Instead of putting the money into projects, the leader and some Shell officials decided to monetize the assistance, only to say that N8 million had been spent already when they were asked to give account of the money”.
The youths reportedly marched the Otota (spokesman) to the residence of the eldest man in the community, Papa George to explain what happened to the money, but the eldest man pleaded that he should be given time to invite the principal characters to find out the truth.
Public Relations Officer of the Eruemukohwarien Central Governing Council, CGC, Mr. Felix Popo, who spoke on the crisis said he was not aware that N8 million has been spent out of the N45 million.
He said that only N1 million was spent to purchase some equipment for the community’s health centre with the approval of Shell. He said the N45 million was not in custody of any member of the community, but in an account that two members of the community and an SPDC official were signatories.
“The truth is that when this money was given, it was tied to specific development projects requested by the community, but later, they said they want the money to be used for micro-credit, SPDC said there is process for everything and we had to do a letter, which had been done. But they told us that it is not automatic, we have to allow for due process, but some people are not ready to wait”, he asserted.