Youths and elders from two communities in Kula Kingdom, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State on Friday, shut down Belema Flow station operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company.
The protesters, who came from two communities, Offoin-Ama and Belema, said that the oil company had not been able to do anything for them within the five-year period the OML55 was leased to them.
One of the leaders of the agitators, Prince Mpaka Welsh, said the communities no longer want Shell in the area, adding that the lease of the flow station to the oil firm has expired.
Welsh said, “The reason we shut down Belema flow station this morning is nothing but to inform the general public that SPDC lease as per Belema flow station has expired for about five years ago.
“For this period that they have been in this area, there is no physical development.”
Also, the Paramount Chief of Offoin-Ama, Nath Sukubo, explained that no son or daughter of the communities was a staff of Shell.
According to him, “These agitations, as we speak, do not exorcise the Nigerian state. We say so because the Nigerian nation is having over 60 percent of the oil and gas proceeds.
“In other words, they are a superior partner of the IOCs. Politically, we are nowhere because government itself does not recognise the fact that such communities exist despite our contribution to the economy of this nation.
“ However, dismissing the claim against it, SPDC spokesman, Joseph Olabari, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the welfare and development of its host communities.
A statement issued on Friday by Shell read, “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd operated Joint Venture (SPDCJV) has said its commitment to the welfare of host communities in the Niger Delta remains unshaken, even as it decried the illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant today (August 11) by some persons. SPDC has informed the authorities of the illegal occupation and is working towards resuming safe operations.
Debunking allegations of neglect of communities in Kula kingdom and Belema in Rivers State, SPDC said it had implemented a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in the area that led to a wide variety of social investment projects, including university scholarships awards.