Five months after, oil community still occupies flow station, wants Shell out
Kula Kingdom in Akuku-Toru Local Government of Area of Rivers State, hosting OML 25 operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), is still occupying the flow station five months after.
The community reiterated its position that they no longer want Shell to operate in their land, urging the Federal Government to replace the company with an indigenous firm.
Indigenes of Kula community had since August last year occupied the flow station.
They declared their position against Shell when Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) visited the area on a fact-finding mission over alleged renewal of oil operational licences of companies operating in the community.
One of the paramount chiefs in Offoinama community, a co-host of Belema Flow Station in Kula, Ibosiya Nathaniel Sukubo, told PANDEF that the presence of Shell has only brought disunity, hardship and poverty to them.
He accused Shell of claiming to have spent billions of Naira in developing the area, adding: “SPDC has operated here for almost 40 years and there is nothing to write home about. We lack all basic amenities; we don’t have good potable water, no good school, no good health facilities. Life is practically unbearable in this environment and we all know the hazard that is associated with the oil and gas exploration, the benzine components of the crude oil, the mercury it produces and has generated to a degree where we suffer generations.
“Offoinama is a co- host to the Belema flow station in Kula here. Our community also hosts the gas injection plant and its booster stations. Offoinama bellies the 6&8” pipeline, delivery link, Eastern gathering line and the Trans-Niger Delta/Nembe trunk pipeline. But as vital asset this facility situated here both for oil and gas exploration, the communities around the facility epitomise impoverishment and poverty.
“And that is the essence for which PANDEF was called for the verification as mandated by the Federal Government. That is why when the companies say they spent millions of dollars in the community, it is not a matter of lip service; it is better the federal government and its agencies come and see things by themselves.”
The paramount ruler of Kula Kingdom, King Bourdillon Ekue, also accused Shell of devastating their host communities without proffering alternative solutions for better living of the people.
He stated that instead of renewing the operational licence on SPDC in the area, government should rather give opportunity to indigenous companies to operate. For example, an indigenous company, Belemaoil Producing, has impacted positively the lives of the people of the area, he affirmed.
Earlier, the leader of the PANDEF team, Timi Kaiser-Wilhelm Ogoriba, said they were on a fact-finding mission on the reported cases of devastation, negligence and alleged plan to renew Shell’s lease licence in Kula.
Ogoriba noted that the people of the area have suffered so much poverty, even when over 45, 000 barrels of oil are being exploited from their land daily.
He said: “The things you have talked here are not strange to us but we appreciate you very much; that we have the likes of you that are leading communities like this.
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