By Our Reporter
Stakeholder Communities of Oil Mining License (OML) 25 and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the ropening of the flow station and payment of outstanding funds owed host communities under the extant Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU).
The MoU also mandated Shell to pay N1.36 billion into a dedicated account, within two weeks, for the development of the communities.
Representative of the Rivers State Governor and Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Solicitor-General Mrs. Florence Fiberesima and Permanent Secretary, Chieftaincy Affairs Felix Odungweru superintended over the signing yesterday at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
The settlement agreement was signed on behalf of the communities by Traditional Rulers, Youth Presidents, Chairmen of Community Development Committees and Community Leaders. Those who signed the agreement were stakeholder communities of Kula, Belema, Offoin-Ama, Ibie-Ama, Boro and Opu-Kula.
Danagogo said the fundamental reason for yesterday’s meeting was to sign the agreement without prejudice to who holds different positions in the communities.
He said: “We are here to sign the settlement agreement between Shell and the Kula communities. We are here to resolve the issues between Shell and our people. After this agreement, other meetings would be convened to determine the issues of employment, community development and community contracts. For now, the aim is for Shell to pay the funds that have accrued, and for the flow station to be opened for further development.”
According to him, the government is aware of those being sponsored to stop the process of settlement, peace and progress, but the government is determined to conclude the reopening process.
Danagogo, who said the government’s actions were based on the renewal of SPDC Operating License, added that should the license be transferred to Belema Oil by NNPC, the government will ensure implementation.
“We want our people to own oil blocks, but we don’t want a situation where the operating license of others are illegally taken away because other Rivers people are operating in other states. Let us approach these issues in peace to achieve progress,” he added.
He reiterated that the government will not succumb to plots to derail the progress made at settling the dispute.
General Manager, External Relations of SPDC Igo Weli said the settlement agreement is a welcome development which will improve the reputation of Rivers State as a centre for investments.
According to him, peace and harmony between corporate entities and host communities is the way to go.
He said: “This is a good model and template. 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 Amanyanabo of Kula, Kroma Eleki called for peace across Kula communities to pave way for the peaceful operation of OML 25. He praised the government for ensuring the peaceful resolution of issues in the area.
The Amanyanabo of Belema, King Ibinabo Kalaoriye, who also signed the settlement agreement, thanked the government for the peaceful process that led to the agreement. He was happy with the terms of agreement, saying those who have occupied the flow station would leave.
According to him, since Shell’s license had been renewed, there was no need for any individual to shutdown the flow station.
Chairman of Akuku-Toru council Rowland Sekibo said the agreement was a genuine progress that will help the area’s development