Port Harcourt — The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, says it does not interfere with the selection of host community representatives on Cluster Development Boards, CDBs that administer its community development funds.
This is as Bilabiri I, an host community to SPDC in Ekeremor LGA of Bayless State, said it has recalled her representative on Mien CDB, David Otiti, but the representative was still being recognised by Shell and Bayelsa state government.
The community warned that if the anomaly was not corrected in seven days, it would be left with no option than to disrupt operations at Estuaries Area oilfields operated by SPDC in the area.
But SPDC has said that under its GMoU template, host communities solely select or recall who represents them on CDBs, which the firm funds development projects under the structure spelt out in the GMoU.
Shell Spokesperson, Michael Adande, affirmed that the Dutch oil firm makes no interference in the composition of the CDBs in its host communities.
“SPDC maintains a non-interference policy in the internal affairs of the Community Development Boards, particularly in the appointment or recall of community representatives.
“All stakeholders duly signed on to this operating guideline as well laid out in the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
“SPDC respects decisions that follow this procedure.”
Meanwhile, the CDC Chairman of Bilabiri I, David Bazigha, Monarch of Bilabiri I, Chief Otiti Miebiotu and Youth President, Elijah Obon, had petitioned the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, to wade into the leadership tussle in the Mien CDB.
The community urged the government to prevail on officials of Bayelsa State Ministry of Mineral Resources to effect the decisions of the community by invoking the recall as spelt out in the GMoU without further delay.
They said it is regrettable that since the community unanimously recalled its representative David Otiti, and communicated same to Ministry of Mineral Resources, officials of the ministry were yet to effect the recall.
However, David Otiti has maintained that he remains the Chairman of the Mien CDB, adding that the moves to remove him were being orchestrated by people envying him.
Otiti said that the calls by Bayelsa State Government to intervene was misplaced, saying that officials of the Bayelsa Ministry of Mineral Resource saddled with supervising the GMoU between oil firms and host communities had already looked into the matter.
“I really cannot say what they want to achieve when the Ministry supervising the GMoUs had summoned all the parties and intervened. Why did they not tell the public that the ministry had looked into the issue and found out the truth and backed out?
“The fact is that in the community a lot of people have ambition for positions with the intention of personal benefits and if your intention is to serve you will become a target.”