A group under the auspices of Bonga Oil Field Shoreline Communities Development Movement (BOFSCDM) has uncovered an age long alleged injustice meted out on the Bayelsa State Government, Ekeremor Local Government Area and Shoreline Communities in Ekeremor Local Government by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and SNEPCO, operators of one of the largest oil fields in Nigeria, Bonga Field. The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide can report.
The group had noted that the Bonga Field was discovered in 1993, started crude oil production in 2005 and began its first shipment of crude from the field in February 2006, adding that this is exactly 29 years after oil was discovered in the field in present day Bayelsa, but regretted that SPDC and SNEPCO is yet to recognised the Shoreline Communities as host nor impacted communities in their operations of Bonga Field.
They described the age long operation of SPDC and SNEPCO, handlers of the Bonga field as strange and inimical to their supposed host.
The group maintained that despite Bayelsa State that ought to be the chief host to SPDC and SNEPCO, operators of the Bonga Field had only recognised far away Lagos state and Rivers State as their hosts, leaving Bayelsa State, Ekeremor and the Shoreline Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area such as AMATU 1, AMATU II, 3 BILABIRI I, 4 BILABIRI II, 5 BISANGBENE, 6 LETUGBENE I, 7 LETUGBENE II, 8 OGBENTU, 9 AGGE, 10 OROBIRI, 11 AZAMABIRI, 12 INGORDE AMA, 13 ABADE-OKUN as their major host.
However, the group had hired the services of a leading Nigerian legal firm, the Ayo Asala (SAN) & Associates to deal with the companies to correct the age long anomaly, stressing that Bonga Field cannot continue to operate without paying adequate compensation to the original host communities, adding that the original map of the Bonga Field captured Bayelsa, Ekeremor Local Government Area and AMATU 1, AMATU II, 3 BILABIRI I, 4 BILABIRI II, 5 BISANGBENE, 6 LETUGBENE I, 7 LETUGBENE II, 8 OGBENTU, 9 AGGE, 10 OROBIRI, 11 AZAMABIRI, 12 INGORDE AMA, 13 ABADE-OKUN as hosts.
The letter dated 14th of June 2022 from the Ayo Asala (SAN) & Associates, Warri, Delta State addressed to SPDC reads in full below:
Ayo Asala (SAN) & Associates
Van Beurden Ben,
Royal Dutch Shell,
London SE1 7NA,
Operation Of SNEPCO Bonga Field Request For: Recognition, Transparency, Inclusiveness, Involvement And Payment Of All Revenues Compensation Accruable To Bayelsa State And The Affected And Impacted Communities.
We are solicitors to 1. Hon. Stephen Alafia Imiemene, 2 Comr. Paebi Samson, 3 Comr. Tamaralayefa Job, 4 Chief Dr. Apt. Godspower Tomone (JP), 5 Elder Akpoboloukemi Johnbo, who are indigenes and accredited representatives of concerned communities situate within the location and operational area of SNEPCO BONGA FIELD e.i 1 AMATU 1, AMATU II, 3 BILABIRI I, 4 BILABIRI II, 5 BISANGBENE, 6 LETUGBENE I, 7 LETUGBENE II, 8 OGBENTU, 9 AGGE, 10 OROBIRI, 11 AZAMABIRI, 12 INGORDE AMA, 13 ABADE-OKUN Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as our clients). We have the instruction of our clients to write you on the above subject matter and to further inform you as follows:
- As you are much aware, the Bonga Field presently under your operation was discovered in 1993 and it is located 53 nautical miles from Dodo River Shoreline in Bayelsa State, Nigeia. This field was founded or created prior to the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996 from Rivers State.
- The Bonga Field is less than 60 nautical miles to its shoreline communities (Our clients) in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. By the relevant law, our clients’ communities mentioned above are statutorily recognised as impacted and host communities to your operation by virtue of their location.
- Unfortunately, despite the peaceful disposition of our clients’ communities towards your operation, since the creation of Bayelsa State, the operators of the Bonga Field have wilfully shut their eyes against the Shoreline Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
- It is more provocative and demonstrate a clear case of discriminatory practice on your part as supported by evidence that the operations of Bonga Field pays revenue/compensation to Rivers and Lagos States while excluding our clients communities and Bayelsa State.
- It is to be noted that our clients’ communities as shoreline communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria were and are duly captured in the original operational map of SPDC and SNEPCO.
It is in the light of the above facts and based on our clients’ instruction that we demand as follows:
i. That the SPDC/SNEPCO should recognize the Bonga Field Shoreline Communities (our clients) as host or impacted communities in the field and they should be treated in accordance with the provision of the NNPC OIL/Gas Law on Community recognition and compensation.
ii. That SPDC/SNEPCO should have an elaborate discussion with the Shoreline Communities and spelt out a workable memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the representatives of the aforementioned host communities to the field.
iii. To pay homage of all the years they have been operating in the field to the communities and to the Bayelsa State Government.
iv. That they should provide contract, employment and scholarship to the indigenes of the host/impacted communities.
v. That the SPDC/SNEPCO should duly recognized Bayelsa State as their chief host and pay revenue to the State Government and the Ekeremor Local Government Area.
We sincerely hope that you will allow good reason to prevail by giving our clients’ above stated request a favourable consideration.
We must reiterate our clients’ position that while they are fully in support of your operation within their communities, they insist that their interest as host and impacted communities must be recognised and adequately protected in accordance with international best practices.
Our clients are prepared to have further engagement with you on the above subject matter so as to ensure smooth and cordial relationship with the host communities and seamless operation.
Finally, we hope that you will timeously respond to our clients’ modest demands as stated above so as to avoid needless litigation and threat to peace within your area of operation.
For: Ayo Asala (SAN) & Associates.
Ayo Asala, SAN, FCArb, FCTI.
- His Excellency,
Senator Douye Diri,
The Executive Governor of Bayelsa State,
Government House, Yenagoa
- His Excellency,
Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo,
The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State,
Government House, Yenagoa.
- Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited,
461 Constitution Ave,
Phase 2, Abuja.