From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa Government has accused multinational oil companies, especially Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of allegedly initiating deliberate policies and programmes to short-change oil bearing communities.
This is just as the government condemned recent criminal attack on Amabulou community over community leadership election that led to the death of one Omolojo Etolor.
Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, handed down the condemnation at a meeting with some concerned members of the Amabulou community of Ekeremor Local Government Area in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Doubara Atasi, said the cluster board programme being run by Shell was causing more harm than good to the people and state governments in the Niger Delta.
He said the primary duty of every government is to protect lives and property, and therefore, the present administration would not hesitate to address any issue or situation threatening peace and security in the state.
The deputy governor said SPDC and other oil companies had never shown genuine interest in the development of the Niger Delta, rather they designed policies and programmes that caused disaffection among the people.
According to him, the state government is worried by the insecurity problem associated with SPDC’s cluster boards in most communities and will soon take measures to address it in a comprehensive manner.
“Shell has not been fair in their dealings with the people of the Niger Delta. Whether you look at it from the economic, social and development points of view, you will find out that they (oil companies) have failed in their responsibility.
“It has always been a tale of woes with Shell. Look at what they are doing to our people with their cluster board programme, causing problems in our communities. So, the state executive council is worried.
“If Shell was responsible and responsive enough in discharging their duties, we will not have some of the military men permanently in our creeks. They always design programmes that will serve their ends to our own detriment.
“As a government, we are seriously looking at this issue at the state executive council meetings. But I won’t be able to tell you today, the prescription the state government has up its sleeves for this reckless show of irresponsibility,” he said.