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Communities kick over pipeline repair contract, give deadline for dialogue

By Eniola Daniel (Lagos) and Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt)   |   12 January 2017   |   4:20 am

SEVEN-ENERGY-GAS-PIPELINE-I

* Give deadline for dialogue
* Ijaw youths protest alleged humiliation of Jonathan, wife

For awarding a 48-inch pipeline repairs contract to a Lagos-based firm, Hydrodrive Nigeria, Odimodi, Beniboye and Isiayegbene communities in Burutu Local Council of Delta State have come on hard on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). They flayed the oil major for allegedly not carrying them along. Consequently, the communities vowed to stand in the way of the work until a dialogue holds.

During a protest to the Apapa, Lagos head office of the contractor yesterday, chairman of Odimodi Community, Sapark Obaila, claimed Shell was treating them with disdain. He stressed that in the past, all communities were well represented on issues affecting them, but alleged that the oil multinational had excluded the three communities after a disagreement over an oil spill that happened sometime ago.

His Isiayegbene counterpart, Combolous Ikisa, stated that they were strongly opposed to the contract award to an entity outside their localities, fuming at their alleged snubbing by the contractor.

Although the Lagos company had mobilised equipment to site, the communities are resolute about halting work until consultation was made on the way out.

To that end, Shell and the contractor have been given a seven-day ultimatum to initiate dialogue, just as it asked the firm to demobilise its tools.

Counsel to the communities, Festus Keyamo, pledged to employ all legal means to actualise the demands of his clients.

He advised Shell to reciprocate the maturity of the communities which refused to tow the path of violence.

Hydrodrive’s Deputy Managing Director, Frank Ifedi, maintained that they had exhausted all issues with Ogulagha Kingdom which their client, SPDC, introduced to them.

“We have sorted out every issue with the host community (Ogulagha Kingdom) introduced to us by the SPDC and they gave us the freedom to operate. So, we do not know who these people are. As far as we are concerned, all issues with the community have been dealt with,” he stated.

Shell’s spokesperson, Precious Okolobo, denied not carrying the communities along.

Meanwhile, Ijaw youths have protested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State against the alleged harassment of former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The protesters under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) said it was unfair for the anti-graft agency to single out Mrs. Jonathan for investigation among former First Ladies, alleging that the move was to tarnish the image of the Jonathans through the Malabu Oil deal.




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