Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, has explained why the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike waded into the revenue-stalling conflict between host communities and Shell on the Oil Mining License (OML) 25.
According to Danagogo, ‘’as a law abiding government, what we are doing is to see that Shell does not trample upon the rights of our people. We want Shell to listen to our people on what they ought to do.’’
Continuing, he said the OML 25 ‘’must’’ be re-opened for operations with the interest of the host communities adequately protected by the operating company, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major in Nigeria.
Communities of the OML 25 have been stating their developmental concerns, urging the big oil company to address them for a mutually beneficial relationship to be entrenched.
The SSG who was speaking at a meeting the state government convened between the protesting communities and Shell said Governor Wike remains committed to the protection of host communities’ interest.
Protest by the aggrieved communities forced Shell to shut down at the facility as communities have been demanding a termination of the deal between government and the big oil at the facility.
‘’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’’, the SSG said, adding that the state government is discharging its responsibility of ensuring the peaceful resolution of the issues.
‘’At the initial stage, we didn’t want to get involve 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.’’
He then urged the communities to do what is right, assuring them that government will prevail on Shell to release the development funds due them in accordance with the oil company’s Global Memorandum of Understanding.