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Niger Delta Group Kicks Against Shell’s Divestment

They insist on the remediation of degraded environment.

An Indigenous group under the aegis of ‘The Forum Against Niger Delta Exploitation’ has kicked against the planned moves by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to sale off all it’s Onshore Oil Assets in the Niger Delta region.

The group in a statement signed by its spokesperson, General Gboloko, insisted that before divestment, the Dutch oil giant must ensure a proper remediation of the Niger Delta environment.

Reacting on the divestment move, the indigenous group led by Henry Okah, stated “That we shall not sit and fold our alms to allow Shell sell off all of its oil assets within the Niger Delta territory to their cronies in the name of a certain consortium of five companies, leaving the host communities as the biggest losers after years of suffering from impact of environmental degradation, unemployment, poor or no infrastructure and others”. 

The group said “we have been quiet all these years with regards to issues about Niger Delta for obvious reasons, given the incarceration of our leader in faraway South Africa; but now, has been given the mandate by him to speak and act henceforth.”

They said haven carefully reviewed the latest development, as well as Shell’s over six decades period of operation in Nigeria, especially within the Niger Delta territory, they therefore have found it necessary to speak with regards to the issue at hand.

According to the group, the planned move by Shell “has exposed the depth of inhumanity of these multinationals operating in the Niger Delta region and further shows that Shell has learned nothing despite their conflicts with some of its host communities in the Niger Delta especially in Ogoni land, and recently in three communities of Kula Kingdom in Akuku-Toru LGA of Rivers State.

“Belema, Offoin-ama and Ngeje Communities of Kula Kingdom had in 2019, shutdown and occupied Shell’s Oil Mining License – OML 25 Belema Flow Station, having been fed up with playing hosts to Shell for over 40 years without any single infrastructural or human capital development in the communities.

“To further aggravate their pain, Shell added salt to injury by concluding plans to divest the oil bloc – OML 25 to its crony to continue on their footsteps; but the host communities rose to the occasion and resisted the move and made case for the divestment of the facility to an indigenous firm whom they felt had their interest at heart.

“To this end, the Forum Against Niger Delta Exploitation will resist the further moves by Shell or any other Oil Multinational to continue the trend of exploiting and enslaving our people or the degradation of our territories without any tangible benefits, infrastructural or human capital development of the Niger Delta people and communities”.

In the statement made available to journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, the group demanded that Shell should give a first right of refusal to divest some of its assets to indigenous firms whose operational bases are within the catchment areas where the SPDC’s assets are situated in the Niger Delta. 

They listed some of the indigenous firms to include “Century Energy, Fenog Nigeria Limited, Belema Oil Producing Limited, and any other indigenous firm which have proven themselves fit to earn the trust of their host communities and are qualified to handle these facilities and convert same for the economic benefits and transformation of the areas”.

They further stated at that the people in the region will no longer accept being treated as second class citizens where their areas would only be good enough for operational bases for oil exploration activities, degradation of our environments without any tangible benefits to our people, while the corporate headquarters of the firms would be taken out of the shores of the Niger Delta territory.

The indigenous group added that “failure to heed to our demand would be viewed as an invitation to anarchy, as we shall make sure that none of the so-called companies under the consortium that make up ‘Renaissance’ would be allowed entry into any part of the Niger Delta territory to commence oil exploration activities”.

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

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