By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”GBOROU autonomous community in Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa State has threatened to sue the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), following the companyâ€™s decision to carry out repairs on the Joint Venture- operated Trans-Ramos pipeline, blown up by militants on June 23 without routine negotiations with the host community after a spillage.
An Ijaw leader, Chief Alaowei Afro Biukeme, acting for himself and Gborou community, in a letter dated July 1, addressed to the general manager, SPDC (West), Warri, by his solicitor, Omemiroro Ogedegbe, gave the oil firm seven days to â€œplay fair by initiating dialogue with Gborou community with a view to assuaging the pains of the host communityâ€ or â€œwe may be compelled to institute legal proceedings against your company without further notice to youâ€.
Citing the judgment of a Bayelsa State High Court, which conferred ownership of Gborou land situated near Aghoro town on Gborou people and the companyâ€™s previous agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gborou community, he said the presence of a dredger at the site without any discussion with the community showed the company had mobilized to site.
The community stated that the attack by militants, which led to the shut-in of 106,000 barrels of daily production, caused a severe act of spillage, thereby crippling economic life of the people.
â€œIt would, therefore, be unpatriotic and insensitive on the part of your company to mobilize to the said site without attending to the legitimate needs and desires of members of the host community.
â€œThe host community is not unaware that your good intentions are being frustrated by some of your personnel who, while basking in the euphoria of the Joint Task Force (JTF) operations that have claimed several innocent lives at their behest, have vowed to silence agitators from the area.
â€œYou must recall that such unpopular policies in recent times have always resulted into unmanageable crisisâ€, the solicitor asserted.