Bayelsa Communities Threatens to Shutdown Shell Nigeria
By Adedayo Osho, 30/07/2020
Oil rich city of Yenagoa witnessed 12 communities in Bayelsa State playing host to Shell Petroleum Development Company SPDC oilfields, giving 21 days ultimatum to the company to review its yearly Global Memorandum of Understanding GMoU funding from $1million to $10 million, and to also increase social obligations to them, or face a total shutdown of their facilities.
Lamenting their plights to pressmen on Wednesday 29th of July, 2020, the communities which are in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areaa in Bayelsa State, under Shell’s four Cluster Development Boards CDBs namely, Iduwini, Mein, Kou, and Bassan, also demanded the payment of an outstanding $14 million anchorage fees for vessels deployed by Shell.
They requested that the anchorage fees which runs from 2006 till date, be paid within the next 21 days, failure which will compel them to stage a protest at all Shell’s Estuaries Area (oilfields) across Bayelsa State.
A representative and Community Development Chairman in Ekeni, Mr Wuka Brisibe, said despite an existing GMoU with Shell, there is no meaningful development in their communities.
He further argued that "The sum of $1 million irregularly paid to the four CDBs covering the 12 host communities of the oilfields 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."
Brisibe decried "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."
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria recently argued that contributions to the development of her host communities in Bayelsa is currently over 23 billion naira, representing about half of its GMoU spendings in all her host communities in the Niger Delta region since the introduction of the community development model in 2006.
Shell has the largest acreage in the country from which it produces some 39 per cent of the nation's oil.
Up till this moment, oil-spillage resulting into environmental degradation has been the trend in the Niger Delta. Local community resort to poisoned waters for regular hygiene. But it is steadily being tackled with the flagoff of "Ogoni Clean-up" initiative by the Federal Government of Nigeria, expected to extend to other oil communities.