Protests Bars Shell in Bayelsa Community
By Sunday Elom
Protest by the aggrieved people of Opukushi community in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has reportedly disrupted the Shell Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) oil exploration activities at its oilfield in the area.
The people of the community staged a protest against their alleged exclusion from contracts in the ongoing drilling-for-oil activities around the oil host communities’ environment.
Speaking during the protest, the chairman of Opukushi Community Development Committee, Simon Preye, said that host communities staged the protest to register their grievances against the SPDC.
Preye claimed that rather than engage the people in the drilling-for-oil activities going on at the company’s oilfield in compliance with the Community Content Guidelines (SPDC) and its contractors neglected their social obligations to the communities. He therefore vowed that they would not stop the protest until their demand was met.
Speaking on the development, the SPDC’s spokesman, Bamidele Odugbesan, confirmed that the protest has halted the company’s exploration activities in the area.
The SPDC’s image maker who described the protest as an invasion however said that personnel of its contractors were safe and unharmed during the demonstration.
According to Odugbesan, work in the oil rig at the affected oilfield had been shut down while the incident has been reported to the appropriate government agencies.
“A large number of men and women invaded a contractor-owned and operated rig working for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Joint Venture in Opukushi in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa State in the early hours of Monday 10 January 2022.
“The invaders forcibly shut down the facility and occupied the safe muster area. Nobody was hurt in the process and the incident was promptly reported to government authorities,” Odugbesan said.