By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT—Belema and Offoi-Ama communities in Kula Kingdom, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, have disagreed with Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, over the N600 million the oil firm claimed it invested in the development of the area.
General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Igo Weli, had, in Port Harcourt, said the firm was effective in its Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, to host communities.
Weli said SPDC had invested the stated amount, adding that about N352 million was invested in the improvement of school infrastructure, sanitation and health outreach programmes, construction of walkways and electricity supply in Kula Kingdom in the past 10 years.
However, the two communities, yesterday, dismissed the claim as false and misleading, noting that SPDC only uses divide-and-rule tactics in its operations in the area.
Speaking for the host communities, Chief Tamunomiebi Felix, Chairman of Chiefs and Elders of Belema, noted that if SPDC had invested the said sum, the communities would have not been in the sorry state they currently are.
Felix called on SPDC to divest from the oil platform to an indigenous firm, adding that the communities will not allow them (SPDC) to operate the facility again, saying nothing has been done for Belema and Offoi-Ama which host OML 25.
Felix said: “Shell just announced that it had spent over $1 million in Kula community. This claim is laughable and cruel because Belema community is in OML 25 and Kula community is OML 24 and OML 55.
“It is important to note that Shell MD has never visited Kula community or Belema community operated by Shell, hence the MD’s lack understanding as to which community he means.”
OML 25 still occupied
Meanwhile, women, youths and elders of the communities have maintained the occupation of the faculty, OML 25, since Friday after the HOSTCOMS shut it down over the alleged neglect.
This is just as Chief Ibiosuya Sukubo berated SPDC for the investment claim, stressing that the communities were not happy with the statement.