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AllAfrica.com: Task Force Stalls Closure of Shell Operations

AllAfrica.com: Task Force Stalls Closure of Shell Operations   

Vanguard (Lagos)

May 19, 2004

Osaro Okhomina

Warri

 

THE Men of the Joint Security Task Force, Operation Restore Hope, averted yesterday a possible closure of the operational activities of the Shell Development Company (SPDC) after Ten(10) wetland communities of the three Warri local government areas protested the alleged plan by the oil company to exclude them in the list of payment of surface rents and re-acquisition of expired leases for oil mining (OML) and Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL).

There was however no report of any violence but the communities from Warri South, Warri North and Warri South-west areas insisted that they would resist any attempt by the SPDC to exclude them from the list of beneficiaries of the payment of lease and rent not yet released by the company. Speaking to newsmen on behalf of the aggrieved wetland communities of Kantu, Omadina, Egbokodo, Ugborodo and others, Mr Godwin Eyitemi said they were ready to resist the alleged attempt by the SPDC to deprive them of payments due and meant to develop their areas. 

He stated that the cry of pain by the communities arouse from the report gathered recently that the list being compiled by the oil company for the settlement of leases and rents payments excluded the wetland areas.

“We want them to alert the state governor and make the international communities be aware of the divide and rule tactics of SPDC. We learnt from our inside source that the list to be released does not include our communities .They excluded those on the wet land out of the deal. We would not take it lightly with them until such anomaly is reviewed”.

“We met with them on this issue and the leaders of the Ijaws and Itsekiri signed a position paper on behalf of the wetlands. At the end, they want to do this to us. For example, at the Rapele Forcados Tink Line, the route of the pipeline network passed through land at a point and entered into the waters. SPDC paid the owners of the land and left the riverine communities out. This pipeline passing through the waters destroy the ecology of our area and they won’t wait to pay at all”

Only last week, the Joint Task Force headed by Brig. Gen. Elias Zamani beefed up security presence on oil installations in Warri.

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