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BAYELSA GOVT WADES INTO SHELL, GBARAIN COMMUNITY CRISIS

By NBF News
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The Bayelsa State Government has expressed displeasure at the incessant crisis between the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and host communities in the state. The state Deputy Governor, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu said the state government would do everything within its powers to ensure that there was harmony between Shell and its host communities.

Seibarugu speaking at a meeting convened to resolve the dispute between Shell and Gbarain community in Government House, Yenagoa, noted that the government expects a high level of co-operation and understanding between Shell and its host communities.

According to him, if a cordial relationship exists then dispute could easily be resolved before it degenerates into a major crisis.

He disclosed that the state government had decided to wade into the Gbarain/Shell dispute because it was its responsibility to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship between companies operating in the state and their host communities.

While urging all the parties to open up and be frank in their discussions, Seibarugu described Gbarain as a peaceful area.

The member representing Yenagoa constituency 11 in the state House of Assembly, Mr. Ebipadei Fekoweimo in his remarks drew the attention of SPDC to the environmental and health hazards being faced by the people of the community due to the company's oil and gas flaring facility.

He advocated for the provision of social amenities and adequate compensation for the people who had suffered environmental hazards.

The Ibenanowei of Gbarain Kingdom, King Funpere Akah commended the Bayelsa State Government for wading into the crisis, which was triggered by the demands of the community.

He said Gbarain kingdom was a major stakeholder in the history of Shell, adding that any disagreement between the two parties should be treated with all seriousness.

The monarch pointed out that the demands from Shell by the people of Gbarain could easily be met by SPDC, stressing that the community had over the years provided an enabling environment for Shell to operate.

King Akah expressed optimism that all the issues at the centre of the disagreement would be resolved.