Rivers State communities protest against Governor Wike’s involvement in row with Shell

Three communities in Akuku-Toru Council of Rivers State staged a protest in Port Harcourt yesterday against alleged involvement of Governor Nyesom Wike in their confrontations with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the OML 25 oilfield.

Belema, Ngeje and Offoin-Ama communities said their women had occupied the flow station since August 2017 when the oil field was shut down and would remain there until the resolution of the matter.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions like ‘40 years of Shell, no employment, no water’, ‘We want peace’, ‘Rivers State government, don’t cause crisis in Belema community’, ‘OML 25 is not under Rivers State Legislative List’ and ‘OML 25 is before federal government for negotiation’.

Spokesman of Kula Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers (KSCTR), Alabo Fiala Okoye-Davies, while addressing the crowd, accused SPDC of using political leaders, especially the chairman of Akuku-Toru Council, to invade the community.

Okoye-Davies warned that Shell’s planned invasion of the community with the state government’s support might stir serious crisis in the area.

He described SPDC’s action as inhuman and called on the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), other oil-producing communities and the federal government to come to their aid to avoid crisis.

“First, we hold that Shell has been using chairman of Akuku-Toru Council, Roland Sekibo, to invade our communities. Now his boss is the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Shell has commenced a new toll of partnership to invade our communities.

“We remain resolute, united and committed to the dream of economic liberalisation, education of our youth, emancipation from the shackles of slave masters who have destroyed our aquatic livelihood with their oil pollution and wanting to sell their assets and hand over to an unknown new slave master.

“The federal government should know that Shell is now using the Rivers State government against its host communities they refused to develop for 40 years, now they claimed to have another 20 years renewal to enslave us. We are saying: no more Shell in our communities.”

Okoye-Davies alleged that Shell’s action was because it felt the community had no government representative.

Spokesman of PANDEF, Anabs Sara-Igbe, said what was playing out in OML 25 communities was a new phase of the Niger Delta struggle, condemning Shell’s intimidation and government’s threat to re-open the flow station

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