YENAGOA – Communities in Epu Cluster Gas Gathering project in Opokuma, Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, have urged the state government to prevail on parties to respect agreements.
The gas gathering project is operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
King Opoitari Diongoli, the traditional ruler of Opokuma clan, told newsmen in an interview that the aggrieved communities had written a petition to the Bayelsa government.
The monarch said that the communities took the steps to enable government call the erring parties to order to avoid strained relationship between them and the companies involved.
According to him, the operator reneged on an earlier agreement with the communities bordering on employment and contract jobs as provided in the Nigerian Content Act 2010.
The communities, in the petition urged SPDC and its contractors to adhere strictly to the existing Memorandum of Understanding drafted in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act, 2010.
Diongoli said the communities at a stakeholders’ meeting resolved to suspend the signing of Freedom to Operate (FTO) with all the companies working in the gas field until the contending issues were addressed.
“The communities deplored the actions of the companies, describing it as not only an affront to constituted authorities, but also a breach of the spirit and letter of the Nigerian Content Act 2010.
“They called on the state government to prevail on the companies to respect the terms of the MoU and the wish of the host communities as it affects local content jobs.’’
A Public Affairs Official of SPDC who reacted on condition of anonymity said that the said petition was not addressed to the oil firm and maintained that the oil firm operates within the laws of the land.