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Rivers, oil communities disagree over alleged $5m bribe

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Shell Petroleum Development Company

Host communities in OML 25 yesterday accused officials of the Rivers State government of receiving a $5 million bribe from operator of the oil facility, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), during their mediation in the face-off between them and the Dutch multinational.

A statement by 11 royal fathers from the host communities of Belema, Offoin-Ama and Ngeje and issued on behalf of others by the Amanyanabo of Opukula, King Bourdillon Allen Ekine, maintained that the alleged gratification was for the state government to do the bidding of the oil major, which according to them, was in flagrant disregard of due process, probity, fairness and equity.

The monarchs claimed that credible information in their reach revealed that the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, received the said amount on behalf of the administration to allegedly undermine due process and forcefully re-open the oil well.

Ekine also described as false the claim by the state government that the communities had agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shell today for the re-opening of the flow station.

He insisted that only strangers and political allies of Governor Nyesom Wike from Kula that were invited to the said MOU-signing meeting, leaving out the real owners of the facility that in the first place culminated in the shutdown of the platform.

The traditional ruler argued that the alleged dealings with strangers by the governor on the matter depict bias and insincerity on the part of the state government.

Reacting, the SSG, Danagogo, described the allegations as a cheap blackmail.

He told The Guardian that Shell does not pay or release money to anyone without proper documentation, adding that his reputation far outlived the claims.

The scribe explained that the state government gave him a mandate to discuss with the host communities and the oil firm to find out their grievances, resolve the differences and then re-open the oil facility within seven days.

His words: “I have held positions where I could have enriched myself but I did not. I have been made the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs where, I had one on one with Shell, Total and other oil companies, then I did not collect bribe to become a billionaire. Is it now I will become a billionaire?

“We have held several meetings and Shell agreed that they are owing the communities and by Monday (today), we will have another meeting and Governor Nyesom Wike has insisted that Shell must fulfil the conditions given them before the facility will be re-opened.”


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