Chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, King Godwill Igodo, yesterday berated the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over its alleged refusal to sign the 2011/2012 General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) between Epie-Atissa- Kolo cluster communities and the oil firm.
Epie-Atissa and Kolo communities are located in Yenagoa and Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
The traditional ruler said the refusal by SPDC to sign the agreement with the cluster communities had delayed its operations in the area, arguing that the oil giant had signed same GMoU with other sister cluster communities in the state.
Igodo spoke yesterday in Yenagoa, at the Shell in Nigeria Sustainable Development and Community Relations’ road show and exhibition programme. He urged the multinational oil company to expedite action in signing the GMoU with the communities.
Over the years in Bayelsa State, signing and implementation of GMoU agreement by oil firms has been a herculean task resulting in frosty relations between the host communities and the multinationals.
Igodo’s words: “We expected SPDC to accept our demands, the GMoU of 2011/2012 have not been signed by Shell for the clusters.
“SPDC is doing business in our land. They should accept our demands and create a cordial relationship with the clusters. The earlier the GMoU is signed by Shell, the better for them to do business in the communities.”
While describing the annual road show and exhibition programme organised by SPDC as strategic, Igodo urged the firm to extend its corporate social responsibility to its host communities by creating jobs for the teeming youths.
Earlier, Governor Seriake Dickson enjoined oil firms in the Niger Delta to protect the environment where they operate, stressing that SPDC should replicate same standard in which they operate in Europe by providing social amenities to the host communities.
The governor was represented by the state Commissioner for Energy, Francis Ekio, at the event.
The Governor’s words: “You must do everything possible to protect our environment. As a government we will provide the needed security of lives and property for the investment to thrive in the state. The cluster communities should also exhibit transparency and sincerity in partnering with the SPDC.”