*Issues 21-days ultimatum
Port Harcourt — 12 communities in Bayelsa State playing host to SPDC Estuaries Area, EA oilfields, has issued 21 days ultimatum to the company to review its annual GMoU funding from $1million to $10 million and other social obligations to them, or face a total shutdown of their facilities.
The communities which are in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw LGAs in Bayelsa State, under Shell’s four Cluster Development Boards namely, Iduwini, Mein, Kou, and Bassan, also demanded the payment of outstanding $14million anchorage fees for vessels deployed by SPDC.
Addressing newsmen in Yenagoa on Wednesday, the communities explained that the anchorage fees which accrued from 2006 till date, must be offset within the next 21 days or they will be compelled to stage a protest at Shell’s EA oilfields in Bayelsa.
Speaking, the Community Development Chairman in Ekeni, Mr Wuka Brisibe, alleged that the Dutch oil firm has been marginalising the host communities, despite their hospitable and peaceful nature.
Brisibe lamented that 80 members of the host communities who were engaged by SPDC in their ongoing oil drilling campaign to acquire experience, have been rendered redundant and only paid a stay-at-home allowance for the past one year.
He regretted that meaningful development has eluded the coastal communities, despite operating a Global Memorandum of Understanding with Shell.
According to them, “The sum of $1million irregularly paid to the four CDBs covering the 12 host communities of the E.A, fields as the GMOU funds is inadequate.
“Each of the host communities receives approximately $83,333 which upon conversion at the present rate of N450.00 per dollar amounts to N37,499,850 only per annum.
“Our people cannot bear the brunt of years of oil and gas exploration and exploitation and not benefit from contracts, supplies and services provided for the operations of the said facilities.
“We are utterly displeased with the disposition of the SPDC in awarding vessel, service and supplies contracts envisaged within the local community content to non-natives and their companies whom we know are members of staff of SPDC or their cronies.
“This is done in flagrant disregard for the capacity and capability of natives of host communities to provide the said services or execute such contract.
“We totally condemn the un-gentlemanly attitude of the SPDC in its non-compliance with the local community content policy and practice against its hosts at the E.A. oil field in Bayelsa,” Brisibe said.
The management of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, is yet to respond to these allegations, however, the company on its website has maintained that its contribution to the development of her host communities in Bayelsa is now over N23billion.
The website quoted SPDC General Manager, External Relations, Mr Igo Weli, saying that the amount represented about half of the company’s GMoU spent in its host communities in the Niger Delta ,since the introduction of the community development model in 2006.