Bayelsa wades into Shell, community row

Emma Amaize

27 July 2012, Sweetcrude, YENAGOA—BAYELSA State Government has intervened in the feud between Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPECo, and Gbarian community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state over alleged neglect of the community by the oil company.

A group of women from the community, early in the week, laid siege to the company, to drive home their demands for development infrastructures and social amenities.

A source told Sweetcrude, Thursday, “The Bayelsa State Government is leading discussions between Shell and Koroama community in Gbarain Kingdom over their demands for social amenities.”

Corporate Media Relations Manager, SNEPCo, Mr. Tony Okonedo, however, said “Shell has implemented several projects in Koroama, including provision of potable water, construction of internal road, award of bursaries to students and undergraduates and training of youths and women in an effort to develop human capital.

“Also, negotiations are being held on a new Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU,” he added.

He assured that “Shell remains committed to playing its part in the development of communities in our areas of operations.”

Koroama women, led by Chief Imomotimi Wariowei, had insisted during their protest, Tuesday, that the community would not be part of the GMoU, with a cluster of 10 Gbarian communities, alleging that it was designed to shortchange the oil communities.

She said, “Shell is taking our oil here and has continued to deny the community potable water, health centre, light; employment of our youths and adequate intra -community roads for us.

“And we were told the gas Shell is taking here is the largest natural gas reserve in West Africa. The water we drink here is from the Taylor Creek, contaminated with all the pollutants to make people sick,” she added.

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