Rivers State Government has reiterated its commitment to the reopening of Oil Mining License (OML) 25 for operations with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), also committing to protecting the interest of host communities.
This was as the Host Communities of OML 25 also restated their developmental concerns, while urging SPDC to address them for mutually beneficial relationship with the company The representative of Rivers State Governor and Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo at a meeting with the host communities and SPDC said that Rivers State Governor remains committed to the protection of host communities’ interest.
He said: “The flow station of that facility must be opened. For that to happen, we think that the interest of the host communities must be protected, so that in future we don’t have a repeat of what happened.
“That is why it is in the best interest of everybody concerned to state very genuine concerns of what Shell has to do. He said that the Rivers State Government was discharging its responsibility of ensuring a peaceful resolution of the issues.
“At the initial stage, we didn’t want to get involved because we felt that the Shell license was almost terminating. But at this stage , it is clear to everybody that the Federal Government has renewed the licence of Shell for another 20 years. What it means is that for the next 20 years, Shell must be there.
“As a law abiding government, what we will do is to see that Shell does not trample upon the rights of our people and that Shell will listen to our people on what they ought to do”, he said.
Danagogo urged the communities to do what is right, assuring that the state government will on that premise prevail on Shell Petroleum Development Company to release the Global Memorandum of Understanding on funds to host community.
For his part, General Manager, External Relations of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr Igo Weli, said that the SPDC was ready to dialogue with the communities to resolve the issues raised.
He said that the existing Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU), has expired, but working with the communities, another GMOU will be worked out for the development of the communities.
He said: “The third one is retaining for fund . The fund for each community is stipulated in the GMOU and each community will have their community trust and even though one community has a problem we can give you your money to go ahead. So once we do it properly, specify how much belongs to each community, have your own community trust, one community will not hold the other communities down. If you have a problem we localise the problem and sort out the one we can operate. That’s what we have been doing”
He informed that there is N960million on ground in line with the existing GMOU, saying that the company is ready to invest the funds.