Tension in Bayelsa, as aggrieved communities plan showdown with Shell over GMoU, Bonga Oil spills

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Twelve aggrieved Bayelsa communities have resolved to shut down operations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in their domains after the expiration of a 21 days ultimatum next Monday, over the alleged non implementation of the Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU entered with the communities and alleged non-implementation of the Bonga oil spills palliatives.

The communities under the EA Oil Field communities namely; Amatu I, Amatu II, Bilabiri I, Bilabiri II, Letugbene I, Letgbene II, Ogbeintu, Orobiri, Azamabiri, Agge, Bisangbene, Ezetu and Ekine, spread across Southern Ijaw and Ekeremor Local Government Areas of the state, are accusing SPDC of “deliberately dumping the GMoU since 2014 while they continue to carry out operations without disruptions or obstruction from the host communities.”

Chairman of the EA Oil Field Communities CDC Chairmen Forum, Engr Ebimobowei Debor in a statement in Yenagoa, said the resolution of the communities was taken by the paramount rulers and Community Development Committee, CDC, chairmen of the 12 EA host communities after an enlarge meeting last week.

According to Debor, other grievances of the communities include, discrimination against indigenous and use of non-indigenous contractors, local contractors, non-implementation of Peace Bonus as contained in the GMoU, and the destruction of locals means’ traditional fishing occupation with oil exploration activities.

Debor said: “The royal fathers of the EA host communities have unanimously agreed that SPDC should shut down their operations in the EA Oil Field if they fail to oblige to the issues, after 21 days. The communities will help SPDC to shut down operations if they refuse to do it themselves until all issues are resolved.

“The Nigerian Petroleum Laws and the Land Use Act did not bar the host communalities from doing business with oil companies that operate within their area but SPDC has completely deprived our local contractors to be part of the main stream jobs in the EA operations area, while they do business with non-indigenous contractors contrary to the Local Content Act.”

Efforts to reach SPDC officials were unsuccessful, but an industry source said issues relating to GMoU are handled at the community level by the communities’ leaders and not by the multinationals.

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