SAN FRANCISCO, August 11, (THEWILL) – Hundreds of angry youths stormed the Shell-operated Belema Flow Station in Rivers state demanding jobs and infrastructure development.
The youths claimed they were not benefiting from oil production in the area and threatened to continue to occupy the flow station until their demands are met.
However, Shell has decried the action of the youths and denied neglecting the youths from the host communities.
The oil giant, in a statement, said its commitment to the welfare of host communities in the Niger Delta remains unshaken.
Shell said that contrary to the claims of the youths it has “implemented a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in the area that led to a wide variety of social investment projects including university scholarships awards.”
“The Rivers State Government initiated a mediation process for the resolution of the disagreements in the community, which had resulted in the creation of the Kula Project Implementation and Monitoring Committee (PIMC) in 2012.
“The PIMC served as an interim platform for the delivery of social investment initiatives and programmes worth N263 million in the Soku-San Berth Project. These projects are separate from the GMoU projects initiated by communities using funds provided by the SPDC JV.
“A GMoU was eventually signed in 2014 for the Kula Cluster but has not been implemented because of continuing intra-community disagreements. As at 2015, there were a total of 11 court cases involving different groups with SPDC as a co-defendant in all of them.
“Sadly, these legal suits and disputes have rendered it impossible to implement more planned developmental projects in the affected communities.
“Notwithstanding that SPDC has divested its equity in OML 24, which covers most of the communities in Kula and Belema. The SPDC JV has continued to implement agreed Social Investment programmes such as scholarship and entrepreneurship schemes for the communities there.”
It revealed that it has informed the authorities on the illegal occupation and is working towards resuming safe operations.