Oil producing Bayelsa communities in Nigeria’s Niger Delta have threatened to sue Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over alleged exclusion of indigenous contractors from contracts.
The twelve aggrieved Bayelsa communities in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas, and spread across different clusters, have threatened to drag the multinational oil company to court.
The Communities of Amatu I, Amatu II, Bisangbene, Letugbene, Bilabiri I, Bilabiri II, Ezetu, Ekeni, Agge, Orobiri, Azambiri and Ogbentu issued the threat in Yenagoa on Thursday, 7 March 2019.
The spokesman of the communities and Leader of Amatu 11, Chief Paul Oweipade, said it had come to the knowledge of the communities that SPDC had concluded arrangements to bring contractors outside the indigenous communities to execute jobs that ordinarily should have been executed by the host communities under SPDC FOD, EA Field OML 79 projects.
Oweipade said the exclusion of the communities was a total disregard of the Nigerian Local Content Law, which clearly made provision for host communities in contracts, jobs and other benefits accruing from multinational oil firms.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we challenge SPDC to call a stakeholders meeting with the entire communities’ comprising all the organs of leadership- traditional rulers, Community Development Committee, (CDC) youths and women groups and make public the names of directors of the companies and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), details of the prospective contractors they have earmarked for the execution of the FOD, EA Field OML 79 jobs, to convince the people that they were fully carried along.
“But otherwise, SPDC should not mobilise to site. And again SPDC should make available the number of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers they intend to engage to enable the communities determine the proper sharing formula among them.
“Therefore, we are giving SPDC twenty-one (21) days ultimatum to address this matter with our communities. As a peace loving people, after the ultimatum, we will not resort to taking the laws into our own hands, but we will not hesitate to institute a legal action against SPDC for flouting the Local Content Law and attempting to deny the host communities of the privileges and benefits,” he said.