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$300m Development Claim: OML-25 Host Communities urge FG to undertake fact-finding visit

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The communities hosting OML-25 in Rivers, have urged the Federal Government to conduct a fact-finding visit to the area to ascertain Shell Producing Development Company’s (SPDC) claim of spending 300 million dollars in developing the communities.

The host communities are Belema, Offoin-ama and Ngeje in Kula Kingdom, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers.

Chief Fiala Okoye-Davies, while conducting journalists round Belema Community on Monday, alleged that SPDC had refused the idea of visiting the communities to appreciate the 300 million dollars it claimed to have spent developing the area.

Okoye-Davies said that the multi-national oil company after operating for almost 40 years, did not only fail in discharging its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but also destroyed aquatic lives through its operations.

“SPDC’s continuous oil exploration and gas flaring without any remediation or clean up plan has destroyed aquatic lives in the area.

“This pathetic situation has left our communities completely impoverished, while battling with terminal diseases as a result of highly polluted water we drink from.

“Our farm lands polluted with massive oil spill and our social lives battered and deranged as a result of SPDC’s divide and rule style of empowerment,” he alleged.

Chief Ibiosiya Nath-Sukubo, Chairman, Offoin-ama Council of Chiefs, said that SPDC had been operating in the community for almost 40 years without the provision of basic amenities to alleviate the suffering of the people.

“No portable water, good schools, electricity, roads, health facilities and life expectancy in the area is low.

“This led to the communities rising up in August 2017 to shut-down operations in OML-25, especially at the expiration of its lease to SPDC,” he said.

According to Nath-Sukubo, when the host communities got information that SPDC was concluding plans to divest the oil field to Crester Energy Resources, they protested and stalled the process.

“Meetings were held with the NNPC in Abuja and our positions were made clear that such divestment must be transferred to Belema Oil Producing Ltd, an indigenous company with track record,” he added.

The host communities requested for the revoking of SPDC’s operatorship license of OML-25 and be handed over to indigenous operator with proven capacity in developing its host communities and build national wealth.

They also pleaded with the heads of Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Service and other security services in Rivers not to be used by the state government against the communities.

The community leaders urged the Rivers Government to withdraw from intervening and allow the Federal Government to conclude its engagement with the stakeholders.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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