Delta Communities Give SPDC One Week Ultimatum

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ASABA, July 08, (THEWILL) - The operations of Shell Development Company (SPDC) in Delta State may suffer a set back as Orhowhe Communities of Edjophe and Otor-Edo, Ughelli South Council Area of Delta State this morning gave the oil major a one week ultimatum to address the issues of alleged exclusion from benefits of expired lease and non recognition in the on-going project at the Utorogun gas plant as host communities.

This position was taken as over 3000-placard carrying women chanting anti-Shell songs stormed the gas plant to press home their demands.

Mrs. Grace Tumulo, a female Secretary of the communities while addressing SPDC officials said, "We are here to tell Shell that enough is enough, how can a father have three children and only one is benefiting, SPDC is occupying Orhowhe land today, Orhowhe had three children Otor-Edo, Iwrekan and Edjophe, but they are only dealing with Iwrekan."

Mrs. Tumulo reading from a list of complaints and attached documents said that SPDC entered their land in 1986. That they entered an agreement on July 04, 1986 on the sharing formula and compensation was paid until 2009 when SPDC mobilized for the construction of a Domestic Gas Plant and entered agreement with only Iwhrekan Community alone.

She added that they wrote a protest letter to the Governor on June 27, 2009 who invited them for a security meeting but till date nothing has been done.

Mrs. Tumulo regretted that another petition was written on May 25, 2010 to SPDC but yet no response has come, that this prompted their action.

Six representatives of the protesters were invited to discuss with Mr. Dele Aisekhalaye, SPDC Representative, Mr. Akemu Avwarutefe, SPDC Community Relation Coordinator, and Mr. Ambrose Oyovwe, Ughelli South Council Secretary who represented Barr. Dennis Djoma, Ughelli South Council Boss.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Benson Ititie, an Orhowhe Communities leader revealed to our correspondent that "after the meeting with SPDC, they appealed that discussions were stalled because the Council Chairman was indisposed but that a meeting will be conveyed next week.

A community source however told our correspondent that the Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama has invited the communities to Asaba next Wednesday to attend a State security meeting with a view to resolving the issue.

Mr. Joseph Obari, Head Media, SPDC West when contacted on telephone confirmed that "there was a protest at the gas plant this morning by women of Edjophe and Otor-Edo communities of Ughelli South demanding for recognition as host communities, we are aware that the State Government is already looking into the matter."