Host communities of the Operating Mining License (OML) 79 in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas, Bayelsa State, have distanced themselves from persons threatening the operations of the license.
They called on the Federal Government, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and other stakeholders to ignore a protest and 21-day ultimatum issued by a section of the communities.
Leaders and elders from the communities under the auspices of Concern Citizens of Kou, Iduwini, Bassan West, and Mein Clan SPDC EA Communities asked the oil company to go ahead with their operations in the area.
They said SPDC had lived up to its obligations and Corporate Social Responsibility, (CSR) in line with the General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) guiding the OML 79 operations.
The group in a statement signed by its Spokesman, Chief Paul Oweipade, accused some influential members of the communities of trading off jobs and contracts meant for the indigenes.
The statement said: “We categorically wish to inform SPDC and her Joint Ventures to disregard any purported 21-day ultimatum as SPDC and her JV have fulfilled their Corporate Social Responsibility for the communities regarding the ongoing OML 79 Further Oil Development, FOD, Projects in our domain.
“Sadly, it is regretted to note that while the SPDC has done its part in the implementation of the CSR under community content, however, some of the communities’ members in connivance with the cluster board chairmen have traded off the jobs and contracts meant for the communities to non-indigenous contractors.
“For the avoidance of doubts SPDC and her JV have in their CT Agreement implemented the 10 vessels supply contracts, Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), supply; waste management, portable water supply, employments of indigenes of the communities under FOD, although they have been placed on sit-at-home salary due to the attitude of the cluster board leaders.
“It is also instructive to note that the EA operations started in 2001 and not 2006 as alleged and SPDC has not been paying vessels anchorage fee since inception but if there is any, the claimants should tender their evidence. We wish to also state that the implementation of 15 percent fund for women is solely the GMoU CDB affairs.
“We are also surprised as we recalled that based on our protest letter and the issues we raised, SPDC held a meeting with the communities’ stakeholders in Port Harcourt and Yenagoa some months ago where these same people threatening SPDC operations sang the praises of SPDC and JV to high heavens for their performance. Then why are they now making a U-turn so suddenly?”