23 July 2013, Abuja – The Peremabiri community in the Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state has threatened to disrupt operations of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, from this week, over the oil giant’s alleged failure to heed its (community’s) requests to extend its corporate social responsibility gestures to Peremabiri.
The community, in a protest letter sent to the corporate headquarters of SPDC in Abuja on July 19, 2013 and signed by its spokesperson, Mr. Never Progress, stated that unless Shell provided the community with a 1000KVA generating set to electrify their homes, they would go ahead with the planned disruption of the oil company’s operations.
The Peremabiri indigenes also informed in the letter that they had sent emissaries to the federal government as well as the Bayelsa State Government to compel the oil giant to extend its community development gestures to them, but that the SPDC resorted to “bullying and terrorising the residents with armed military personnel instead of seeking a peaceful fulfillment of their demands”, which they described as genuine.
Progress noted that SPDC operates about 12 functional oil wells within Peremabiri community, adding that it was unfair of the company to consistently rebuff its plea for community development.
The letter stated: “Shell and the government of Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha separately gave them 500KVA generator each but the one supplied by Shell has broken down due to its age.”
They explained that since the one donated by Shell broke down, they have no other option, but to ration electricity supply to the two sides that make up the community with the generator that was given to them by the Alamieyeseigha government.
The letter added: “The grievance of the community is that whereas they approached Shell since March, 2013 to supply the demanded 1,000kVA generator to enable them pump water from nine boreholes which they sunk purely as a community self-help project due to Shell’s negligence, the company keeps telling us that they have not got approval from above.
The community therefore met and unanimously resolved to take this decisive step in the event that Shell fails to supply the generator at the expiration of the said ultimatum, insisting that they will have no other option than to shut down the operations of Shell until their demand is met.”
The letter also stated: “As a peace loving community, we are calling on the Federal Government, the National Assembly, human rights groups and the international community to intervene in the matter before Shell mobilises security forces to maim and kill citizens of the impoverished community.”
– Chineme Okafor, This Day