SYLVA WADES INTO BAYELSA COMMUNITIES, SHELL CRISIS, MEETS WITH REPRESENTATIVES

By NBF News
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Governor Timipre Sylva has met representatives of the four communities in Ogbia Local Government that staged a protest that disrupted the operations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

The four communities, Oruma, Otuasega, Imiringi and Elebele had accused Shell of dishonouring the agreement it signed with the communities and moved to ensure that the oil giant honoured it by paralyzing its activities at the Kolo creek flow station until the company negotiated with the 8-man committee set up.

However, worried over the dimension the crisis was assuming, Sylva had met with the 8-man negotiating committee and representatives of the four communities at the Bayelsa State Government House.  Also in attendance was the deputy-governor, the three lawmakers from Ogbia Local Government Area,the commissioner for Environment and top government functionaries.

A source at the meeting said the communities were very frank with Sylva and they listed the demands they wanted from government and Shell. According to the source, while the meeting was going on, Sylva was said to have placed a call to the Managing Director of Shell, who expressed willingness to find a solution to the problem and requested a meeting with the governor before the enlarged meeting with the communities.

In the letter of demands, the communities emphasized the benefits of the Kolo Creek oil fields as it had been able to sustain the Bayelsa State Government through its contribution to oil production, making it possible for the state to benefit from the 13 per cent derivation and the federal allocation.

The communities reminded Sylva that during the peak of the militancy period, when oil flow stations in Bayelsa had been shut down due to the activities of militants, it was only the Kolo Creek flow station that ensured Bayelsa State survived financially.

In the letter, signed by representatives of the communities, including the Obanobhan of Emeyal clan and acting Obanobhan of Ogbia kingdom, King G.A Lawson, they demanded for a Kolo Creek mega water scheme to be sited at the gas turbine station and which would cover the 12 communities in Kolo creek. Also on the list is the construction of a 2km concrete road in the four communities that staged the protest.

They also demanded that the surveillance of oil pipelines contract NNPC wanted to award to ex-militants in Bayelsa State should not include those of  Kolo Creek as the contracts should be handed over to contractors who were natives because they did not benefit from the amnesty programme.

Sylva who was said to have impressed it on the minds of the representatives of the communities on the need for peace gave his words to the people to execute the projects.