Wants urgent review of development fund from $1 million to $10 million
Communities hosting Shell’s Estuaries Area (EA) oilfields in Bayelsa on Wednesday urged the oil firm to review its annual development funding from $1 million to $10 million and other social obligations to them.
The communities which make of four Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) ,Iduwini, Mein, Kou, and Bassan funded by Shell also demanded the payment of outstanding $14 million for sea anchorage for vessels deployed by Shell.
According to them the amount which accrued from 2006 till date must be offset within the next 21 days or they will be compelled to stage a peaceful protest at Shell’s EA oilfield in Bayelsa.
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 oilfirm 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 called for a 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 Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) had said itsofficial sal contribution to the development of host communities in Bayelsa is now over N23 billion
The company said 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 spend 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 Managersaid when contacted noted that he would look at the issues raised and respond soon.