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SPDC distances self from leadership crisis in Bayelsa host community

By Julius Osahon, Yenagoa
21 October 2020   |   2:52 am
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), yesterday, said it did not interfere with the selection of community representatives on Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) that administer its development funds. It said that under its Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) template, host-communities solely select or recall who represents them on CDB with its fund's development…

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), yesterday, said it did not interfere with the selection of community representatives on Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) that administer its development funds.

It said that under its Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) template, host-communities solely select or recall who represents them on CDB with its fund’s development projects under the governance structure spelt out in the GMoU.

The clarification came on the heels of complaints by Bilabiri 1 in Ekeremor Local Council alleging that its recalled representative on Mien CDB was still being recognised by SPDC and Bayelsa State government.

The community subsequently warned that if the anomaly was not reversed within seven days, it would be left with no option than to disrupt operations at Estuaries Area (EA) oilfields operated by SPDC in their area.

In reaction to the allegation, the Spokesman for SPDC, Mr. Michael Adande, said that the oil firm made no input in the composition of the CDBs in its host communities.

“SPDC maintains a non-interference policy in the internal affairs of the Community Development Boards, particularly in the appointment or recall of community representatives.

“All stakeholders duly signed on to this operating guideline as well laid out in the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).

“SPDC respects decisions that follow this procedure,” Adande stated.

The leadership of Bilabiri 1 community had in a letter dated October 5, 2020, appealed to Bayelsa Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to wade into the leadership tussle in the Mien CDB.

According to the community, Mr. David Otiti, erstwhile representative of Bilabiri 1 on Mien CDB, who was recalled but was still being recognised by the government and SPDC.

It was gathered that the Mien CDB was inaugurated in October 2018 for a five-year tenure, but the recall process for Otiti commenced on July 14, less than two years into the five-year tenure.

In the letter to the deputy governor, signed by Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman, Mr. David Bazigha; Chief Otiti Miebiotu, Monarch of Bilabiri 1 and Youth President, Elijah Obon, the aggrieved community said: “The intervention of the state government would nip the brewing crisis in the bud, and preserve the existing peace for oil and gas exploration in the state.”

It, therefore, urged the state government and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Ogbere, representing the area at the Assembly, to prevail on officials of the Ministry of Mineral Resources to affect the decisions of the community by invoking the recall as spelt out in the GMoU without further delay.