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SPDC N600 million contract debt: Tension mounts in Niger Delta communities



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Tension is rising daily in Bayelsa and other parts of Niger Delta over a whopping contract debt of N600 million owed a local contractor by Shell Petroleum Company.

CAPITAL POST gathered, penultimate week, that youths in Ekeremor Local Government Council and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) are locked in altercation over N290,394,000 and $34,164,000 amounting to over N600 million in Nigeria’s local currency. This was the contractual amount of services rendered by Omire and Associates for the supply of a Tugboat and Water barge for the repair of Shell’s damaged oil installations at Brass Creek Swamp 2 in Bayelsa State.

Shell, a multinational oil company which is notorious for owing debt has been indebted to the company since 2008 till date. Of regret, is that all entreaties by the host communities, the company and the youth to persuade payment of the debt proved abortive, even as the upper and lower relevant Committees of the National Assembly’s intervention through public hearings has been ignored with impunity by Shell Petroleum Development Company.

A citizen of Niger Delta and the community leader in charge of the Company, Mr. Finidi Jahbless in some documents sighted by CAPITAL POST has written to both Chambers of the National Assembly, the presidency, the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Security Agencies over the flagrant abuse of Nigerian laws by the erring Shell Petroleum.

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Investigation by CAPITAL POST revealed that the host community of Ekeremor Local Government and the youths were angry because of what they described as injustice against a local company. A resident in Bayelsa, who pleaded anonymity said, “after a contract was awarded to Omire and Associates, the company thereafter obtained a loan of N5.5 million from First Bank at an interest rate of 22%, the Shell Petroleum Development Company criminally and illegally substituted the contract with their own subsidiary company.” According to him, “the Omire and Associates has already begun the execution of the contracts as Tugboats and Barge have been mobilised to site.”

In collaboration with the concerned indegene who don’t want his name in print, documents seen by CAPITAL POST indicated that Tugboats and Barge were mobilised to site by Omire and Associates which it commenced repairs in accordance with contract Ref. No. NGO1003128 (A29) and PO Ref. No. 4510149777.

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The company in several petition to the National Assembly and agencies of government decried harassment, intimidation, seizure of Tugboat and Barge equipment. It said the conduct of the multinational oil company constitutes an infraction in the contractual agreement, it entered into which bothers on illegal termination of contracts. It further posited that Shell Petroleum Development Company was involved in unwholesome practices against the host communities that manifested racism, white supremacist, exploitation and brutal expropriatory of policies often carried out by foreign multinational oil companies.

Part of the document further reads: “It is inconceivable that SPDC can visit this kind of insensitive, dismissive and crudely exploitative actions on citizens of Europe, America or other advanced countries without facing punitive sanctions of hefty Court penalties.

“For instance, SPDC was forced to pay colossal fines running into billions of sterling for massive oil leak off the coast of Scotland where it was carrying out oil drilling activities some years ago.”

“However, when it comes to the case of the third world countries, the reverse is the case as the regulatory, judicial or even legislative authorities are slow or hesitant to wield the big stick against the wayward oil majors’ reckless, apathetic and oppressive activities.”

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In the document made available to CAPITAL POST by Omire and Associates, the firm wondered how the multinational oil company would defy the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, Ethics and Priviledges’s summon for eleven times.

The company lamented that if a foreign firm could flagrantly abuse the peoples parliaments which oversights it as a matter of its legislative powers, the development should be better imagined that said.

The local contracting company also averred that several invitations by the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) to Shell was ignored.

However as at last weekend, various groups in Ekeremor Community in Bayelsa State, were meeting, and perfecting strategies on how to confront Shell Petroleum Development Company.

It was not certain if the planned attack would be against Shell Petroleum installations across the region, but our correspondent reports that there is palpable tension in the local communities over the weekend that suggested that anything can happen, if the relevant government agencies didn’t intervene immediately.


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