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Home Inside Niger Delta Bayelsa Bayelsa: Oil-producing communities demand $10m development funding

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Bayelsa: Oil-producing communities demand $10m development funding

Aggrieved oil-producing communities in Bayelsa State under the auspices of the Iduwini, Mein, Kou, and Bassan Cluster Development Board have asked the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) to review annual development funding from $1million to $10million to their areas.

The also demanded the payment of outstanding $14million for sea anchorage for vessels deployed by the SPDC.

The communities, which are located in the Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of the state, claimed at a press conference in Yenagoa on Wednesday that the debt accumulated from 2006 till date.

Mr Wuka Brisibe, the Chairman of Ekeni Community Development Chairman (CDC), one of the 12 host communities, warned Shell to pay the outstanding $14million within the next 21 days or they would shut down the oil company’s oilfields.

He also lamented that 80 members of the host communities who were engaged by Shell in the ongoing oil drilling campaign to acquire experience had been left redundant and paid “stay-at-home allowance for the past one year.”

Brisibe claimed that Shell was marginalising the communities despite their hospitable disposition, adding that development had eluded the coastline settlements because the oil firm was not implementing the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) it signed with them.

While issuing the 21-day ultimatum, Brisibe said, “The sum of $1million 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 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.

While issuing the 21-day ultimatum, Brisibe said, “The sum of $1million 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 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 contracts.

“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. oilfields in Bayelsa.”

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