Otumara community halts Shell gas project

Simon Adewale

04 March 2013, Sweetcrude, Warri – The people of Otumara Community, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, have asked the Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, SPDC, to halt a proposed gas plant project in the area, or, in the alternative, give them adequate compensation to relocate, before the company can go ahead to site its proposed gas plant in the area.

The people of the community who spoke through their Chairman, Mr James Edun, Spokesman, Pastor Alade Omaejile, Women Leader, Mrs Grace Odogene and P.R.O., Pastor Weyimi Fuludu, are requesting Shell Petroleum Development Company to pay a minimum of N25,000 per meter square, instead of N4,500, which the Company has proposed to pay them to vacate their residents which would be demolished to serve as site for the proposed gas plant which SPDC intends to site in the Community.

They have called on the company to follow the example of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC and the Delta State Government, that pay up to N120,000 per square meter to owners of properties usually demolished in construction sites, and said unless SPDC makes adequate compensation which would be enough for them to build another befitting homes for themselves, they would not vacate the community for the proposed gas plant to commence.

It would be recalled that SPDC, in year 2000, proposed to site a gas plant in Otumara Community. Consequent upon the development, the company forwarded an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the Federal Ministry of Environment for approval.

Reacting to the EIA, copies which were made available to the press, the people of the community have alleged that SPDC, contrary to Article 11 Section 2 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, of the United Nations, the company omitted “social, economic, physical, biological and hydrological impact which the gas project shall place on the immediate Otumara Community, and which avail the people of their rights to adequate compensation, an act which the people of the community have accused SPDC of deliberate witch-hunting”.

They also alleged that SPDC recently approached them to relocate, following approval of the EIA, by the Federal Government, “with the intention to pay them a token compensation of N4,500 per meter square for properties to be demolished, which the community rejected”, insisting they must be paid N25,000 per meter square which is adequate for them to build another homes for themselves.

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