By Emma Amaize
YENAGOA—Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo, has reportedly shut down its flow stations in Southern Ijaw and Ekeremor Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State due to anxiety that ex-militants may attack the facilities because of the outcome of the presidential election.
The incumbent president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who lost last Saturday’s presidential election to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), is from Bayelsa State, had accepted defeat and urged his supporters to eschew violence.
Among the flow stations reportedly closed down are Tunu, Bensede Kussi, all in Bayelsa State.
A SNEPCo official, who spoke anonymously, said: “Tunu flow station was shut down but not because of threat by ex-militants. Can we not shut down for operational reasons? What is the big deal if Tunu station is closed down for operational reasons, why are they eager to drag Shell into all these?”
However, Shell’s Corporate Media Relations Manager, Mr. Precious Okolobo and the company’s spokesman in Port-Harcourt, Mr Joseph Obari, in an SMS to our reporter, said: “Our operations are continuing and we will not comment on security issues.”
A source, however, said: “It is not as if SPDC shut down its operations at Tunu but it is carrying out skeletal services in the Central and Eastern operations of Niger Delta to resume in full swing next week as cautionary measures, given the tense political atmosphere in the Niger Delta.”
An informant said: “The truth is that militants sent a threat that oil companies should vacate the region and the company took precautionary measures by shutting down its operations in Southern Ijaw and Ekeremor councils.
“The whole thing is about the fear of possible attack on its facilities over the loss of the presidential election by President Jonathan. There was intelligence report that militants might bomb facilities and security agencies are already on the alert.”