From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
BAYELSA State Government has sealed Gbarain- Ubie gas facility belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for violating the Physical Planning Law of the state.
The facility, said the state government, was built without a building permit (called Development Permit) as required by law and this made the government to approach the court to obtain an order to close it down.
The seal-off order, contained in a statement yesterday by the Executive Secretary of Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board, Chief Boro Ige-Edaba said the sealing of the company located in Gbarantoru in Yenagoa Local Government Area, followed an eviction order issued by the state High Court in Yenagoa.
The court had also directed the Commissioner of Police, the commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and all security agencies to facilitate the enforcement of the eviction.
According to him, the eviction order had granted the government of Bayelsa State leave to effect the eviction of SPDC and all occupants of the premises to enable the Physical Planning and Development Board conduct environmental, health, technical integrity and safety checks on the facility.
“The Gbaran Ubie facility was developed by Shell on about two million sqm of land (more than half of Lagos Island) in Bayelsa State without a development permit contrary to the provisions of the law and commissioned in 2010 despite subsisting stop-work order and noticed to discontinue the development without the permit.
“The Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law, 2015 requires that all developers of existing development in the state which were built without obtaining a development permit under previous planning laws applicable in the state, must submit such development to scrutiny and validation for overriding public safety and must obtain the necessary approvals from the board for a developed property permit or face the consequences for contravention.
“Despite all notices served on Shell since the commencement of the law in 2015, the company neglected, refused and failed to comply with the provisions and requirements of the law and regulations made pursuant to the law.”
The court had also ordered that all the occupants of the Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project and all its affiliated facilities in Bayelsa State to stay and remain evicted until the company complies with all the requirements of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law 2015.
According to Ige-Edaba, BSPPDB is statutorily empowered to provide effective physical planning, development control and framework for infrastructural development in the state.
“To this extent, all forms of development, whether existing or intended to be carried out by the government, corporate organisations and individuals, must consequently obtain the necessary approvals from the board.
When Daily Sun contacted Mr. Precoious Okoloba, Shell spokesman on his Glo line on Monday afternoon, shortly after the seal off order was issued by the state government, it indicated the line was not available.