Bayelsa Communities Issue 21-Days Ultimate to SPDC, Seeks Review of Development Fund

A coalition of oil bearing communities in Bayelsa state have issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC over an outstanding
$14million sea Anchorage for vessels the company deploys.

The communities also seek an upward review of the annual development fund from a $1million dollars to $10million as well as other social obligations.

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The coalition made up of Cluster Development Boards of communities in Iduwini, Mein, Kou, and Bassan, play host to Shell’s Estuaries Area (EA) oilfields in Bayelsa.

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Wednesday urged the oil firm to review its annual development f

The communities demand a payment of the outstanding amount accrued from 2006 till date within the next 21 days or they will be forced to stage a peaceful protest at Shell’s EA oilfield.

They lamented the the plight of some 80 members of the host communities who were engaged by Shell in the ongoing oil drilling campaign to acquire experience but regretted that they have been rendered redundant and paid ‘stay at home allowance’ for the past one year.

The communities in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa in a press conference in Yenagoa said that the oil firm was marginalising the communities despite their hospitable nature.

Mr Wuka Brisibe, Chairman of Community Development Chairman (CDC) in Ekeni on behalf of the 12 communities hosting the oilfields regretted that development had eluded the coastline settlements despite operating the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with Shell.

“The sum of One million dollars 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 dollars 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 ungentlemanly 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.

They further sought the review of the GMOU to limit the interference by Shell officials in determining the pace of the GMOU, especially concerning remuneration of contractors upon completion of contracts or milestones.

Meanwhile, the SPDC had said it’s official contribution to the development of host communities in Bayelsa is now over N23 billion under the GMoU, a model which places the choice of community projects on the people while the company provides the funding and necessary mentoring.

SPDC General Manager External Relations, Mr Igo Weli, said 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.

On the demand for the review of the $1 million annual obligation, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, SPDC’s Media Relations Manager noted that he would look into the issues raised and respond in the shortest time possible.

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