By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT —AMIDST dissenting voices, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in Rivers State has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with host communities to reopen operations on Oil Mining License, OML 25, assets after two years’ closure over differences between the company and host communities.
Terms of the understanding reached, yesterday, through mediation facilitated by the Rivers State government involved halt to the hosts occupation of the assets for reopening of the Belema Flow Station and payment of outstanding funds owed the communities under the extant Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU.
Other terms include a mandate on Shell to pay into a dedicated account, the sum of N1.36 billion within two weeks for the development of the communities.
The MoU was signed on behalf of the communities by traditional rulers, youth presidents, chairmen of Community Development Committees among other opinion leaders from Kula, Belema, Offoin-Ama, Ibie-Ama, Boro and Opu-Kula communities located in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the state.
Representative of Rivers State Governor and Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo; Solicitor General of Rivers State, Mrs Florence Fiberesima; Permanent Secretary, Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru superintended over the signing process, yesterday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
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Danagogo, on the occasion said: “The fundamental reason for the meeting was to sign the agreement, without prejudice to who holds different positions in the communities, to resolve issues between Shell and our people.”
General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Igo Weli said on the occasion: “This is good model and template, best practice. We came here to find solutions because we want the best for our communities. There are always constructive and peaceful ways of resolving conflicts.”
The dissenting community voices expressed in a statement in Port Harcourt by Prince Opunabo Ekine, His Royal Highness, Sibia Aaron Sukubo, Offo XIII, Chief Ibiosia Nath-Sukubo, Chief Ibinabo Daniel Kiliya, Chief-elect Mpakaboari Welsch, Chief-elect Oputuboye Walter, and Chief Wapakaboari Gaga.