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Oil communities allege discrimination, non-payment of landowners by Shell


Representatives of oil producing communities in Delta State yesterday protested at the National Assembly against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)’s discriminatory and non-payment of rentals to land owners.

The protesters acted under the aegis of the Niger Delta Landlords of Shell Petroleum Development Company.

They accused the oil company of divide-and-rule; warning that the discriminatory payment of land re-acquisition and rentals by the company was unacceptable to them.

They also urged the Senate to issue warrant of arrest against the Managing Director of the SPDC, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, for habitually disregarding invitations and directives by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public petitions.

The group’s leader, and former member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Isaac Onniye, accused the firm of paying N200, 000 per hectare to some communities, while others were paid N600, 000.

He insisted on the payment of the differentials to the affected landowners from the 2014 to 2018 payment cycle.

Onniye disclosed that the communities were drawn from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Abia, Imo and Rivers states.

In a petition delivered to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, the aggrieved landlords averred that they had earlier appeared before the without the appearance of the SPDC boss.

They also urged the Senate to invoke Section 89(1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution to issue a warrant of arrest against Okunbor, if he fails to appear before the committee on subsequent invitation.

They insisted that he should come to explain why he refused to pay all the claims by the landlords, as directed by the committee in December 2017.

Counsel to the communities, Bekele U.J, who signed the petition, expressed regret that the SPDC has been negligent of the senate’s invitations and directives.

Some of their placards read, “Shell stop divide-and-rule,” “Tenants (SPDC) don’t have right to impose payment on landlords,” “Shell pay landlords N600, 000 per hectare differences for our 2014-2018 rentals shortfall.”

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