Bayelsa Community Threatens to Shutdown Shell’s Facilities over Oil Theft

628 views | Akanimo Sampson | March 4, 2021

Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major, Shell, is locked in a bitter dispute with the Nembe people of Nembe Local Government Area in Bayelsa State.

Well-informed local sources said on Wednesday that the community is bracing to shut down Shell’s facilities over an alleged crude oil theft owned by Aiteo Eastern E&P.

The obviously angry Nembe people want the oil major return the alleged stolen crude immediately, claiming that the community has been vindicated.

For them, ‘’Shell is a culprit that has been sabotaging Nigeria’s economy. Nembe communities over the weekend staged a peaceful protest and requested the oil company to comply or risk their facilities in Oluasiri area of Nembe being shut down.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had issued an injunction restraining Shell’s Nigerian subsidiaries from withdrawing money at 20 local banks until it ring-fenced potential damages in a lawsuit brought against the oil major by Aiteo Eastern E&P.

Aiteo is seeking about $4 billion in total over alleged problems with the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) pipeline it bought from the Anglo-Dutch group in 2015 and over claims that Shell undercounted its oil exports.

Aiteo is seeking compensation over what it says was the poor condition of the pipeline and associated lost oil sales.

During the protest, Nembe City Youth President, Albert Cons-Benibo, said “we entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Aiteo but they pleaded that we give them time to settle down, an appeal we granted graciously.

“But along the line they failed to meet up their obligation to us. As understanding people, we gave them more time yet they failed. So when we confronted them they accused us of sabotaging their production.

“As a community, we invited the military to help chase out whoever was sabotaging their activities but at the end it was discovered that it was Shell that was stealing the crude from Aiteo facility.

“We are protesting that Shell should refund the crude they have stolen so that Aiteo can meet up their responsibility. Now look at Nembe today, there is no light and water for the common people. We cannot allow multinationals to come here and steal our own oil on our own land.”

President of Nembe Youths Federation, Moses Ayerite, says, “our demand is that Shell should return what they have stolen from Aiteo because they are of no benefit to us now. We have found out that Shell has been presenting fake data as what they get every day.

“In other words, if Aiteo is supposed to get 100 barrels per day, the meter in Shell’s meter in their Bonny Island reads that what they should get is 50 barrels per day. Already the matter is in court and it has been ruled that Shell should return what they stole back to Aiteo but till now they have not done anything. So we are giving them one week to comply or we will shut down their facilities in Some and Oluasiri.”

Women President of Opu-Nembe, Beredugo Afuroyanate, said, “when Shell was operating here in Nembe, we used to enjoy scholarship for our children, SME training and empowerment for women and jobs for our men as part of their social responsibility; but when they left, Aiteo came into Nembe.

“Since Aiteo came in, we have not enjoyed these benefits and our investigation revealed that Shell was stealing crude from Aiteo. And as a result of that, Aiteo is unable to pay us our entitlements. From the way people understand us, we own the crude oil but when you come to our Communities we are suffering.

“We are begging the Federal Government to tell Shell to pay the money they are owing Aiteo or we will come out in our numbers and stand against this oppression.”

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