Bayelsa speaker seeks better deal as Shell donates projects to communities
Speaker of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, Monday Obolo, has expressed reservations over the global memorandum of understanding (GMOU) being executed by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) with its host communities. He spoke at the weekend during the donation of 60 projects by the oil major to some settlements in the Niger Delta in Yenagoa.
Obolo said: “It is my view that the development funding currently being provided by Shell under the global memorandum of understanding (GMoU) is grossly inadequate compared to the level of contribution to oil output.
“The environment in our communities in Southern Ijaw has been so degraded and nothing is too much for the communities. That is why the Governor Seriake Dickson administration has taken steps to establish an Oil Producing Areas Commission to compliment the GMoU.” He hinted that an executive bill had scaled first reading in the legislature wherein the governor mooted that 13 per cent of the derivation formula accruing to the state be channelled to the development of the oil-bearing communities to complement the social obligations of the multinationals operating in Bayelsa.
Earlier, Shell’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, said his organisation had executed GMoUs with 37 settlements in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Abia states.
During the commissioning of the projects in seven communities of Bayelsa, he pledged that the Dutch firm would increase its investments on social amenities in its areas of operation as long as peace prevails.The beneficiaries include Peretotugbene; Amabolou; Oweigbene; Ndoro 1; Ndoro 2; Tamogbene and Norgbene communities under the Oporomor Cluster, all in Ekeremor Local Council of the state.
His words: “This once again highlights the support SPDC JV gives to people in our areas of operation when there is a conducive environment for interaction and when we all take up the opportunities available to engage on matters that affect all of us.“SPDC is always glad to engage with our stakeholders so that we can co-create the climate for development that we all desire. Where the environment supports our business and we run our operations without disruption, SPDC is committed to increasing the social investments that we make to host communities and to Nigeria.”
Represented by the External Relations Manager, West Hub, Evans Krukrubo, Weli stated that the joint venture introduced the GMOU in 2006 as a community-driven development tool.But chairman of Oporomor Cluster Development Board, Chief Ebipremene Feboke, lauded the model, noting that it “allows community involvement in the selection and implementation of projects.”