By Festus Ahon
UGHELLIâ€”Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has suffered a major setback, as the people of Olomoro, Isoko South local government area, Delta State, have since last Thursday shut down the Olomoro flow station and Gas compressor station in protest against the non-payment of entrance fee of N15 million owed the community.
Vanguard reports that workers of SPDC were barred from entering the flow station and Gas compressor station to carry out any activity.
Speaking to Vanguard, Vice President of the community, Elder Emmanuel Uzie, said SPDC had been playing on their intelligence and alleged that SPDC contractors working in the area were not settling the community.
According to Uzie, for over a year, contractors in the stations have incurred a debt of N15 million in the community.
HeÂ added that cheques issued by some of the contractors as entrance fee to the community could not be cleared.
Uzie said the ongoing protest was sparked off by a contractor of the SPDC, Chief Israel Ogbodu and Sons Nigeria Limited who, according to them, brought in six foreigners to work at the station with a monthly salary of N120,000.
He said this negated agreement reached with the company that three persons be employed from the community to work at the station.
Uzie said the contractor has worked for 10 months, out of the 18 months that the job would last, without the community benefitting.
The Public Relations officer, PRO of the community, Mr. Cyrin Ezoh, insisted that they would not allow SPDC to switch on both the flow station and Gas compressor station until their demands were met.
He added that those brought in to work were not better qualified than the indigenes ofÂ Olomoro Community.
Anthony Unukowor, Financial Secretary of the community on his part, said they were also demanding that SPDC come and renew the memorandum of understanding (M.O.U) it entered with the community on September 13, 2005 on the companyâ€™s operations in the area.
Unukowor alleged that SPDC has failed to comply with the terms in the M.O.U and said the expired M.O.U needed to be re-negotiated.
On whether they have called on SPDC to renew the M.O.U, he said the company told them that the M.O.U was too robust to be renewed.
Communityâ€™s secretary, Mr. Friday Okolosi, alleged that the cheque of N315,000 DRESSRAND Nigeria Limited issued to them as fee for first entering of four months and another entering fee of N1.4 million for six months could not also be cashed by the community.
According to Okolosi, another cheque of N1.5 issued by GTMH/ACM, the company in charge of maintenance of the Gas Compressor station, could not also be cleared and called on SPDC to clear all the outstanding debts before the flow station and Gas compressor would be re-opened.
He also called on all contractors working in both stations to renew their entry and clear all outstanding debts.