SPDC has also restated its commitment to dialogue and peaceful resolution of disagreements with the invaders.
A group of people invaded the facilities on August 11, 2017, ejected the staff on duty and have illegally remained in occupation of the facilities since then. The group has so far rebuffed all entreaties to resolve their grievances through dialogue but has instead demanded immediate transfer of ownership and operatorship of the facilities to their preferred indigenous oil firm, under the pretext that SPDC has over the years neglected the interests of the local community.
“SPDC believes that all stakeholders in the matter should give the Rivers State Government-initiated mediation process the chance to resolve the disagreement peacefully”, said SPDC External Relations General Manager, Igo Weli, on Tuesday.
“Contrary to the false claims in the paid radio announcements, SPDC will only resume operations at the facility when it is safe to do so.”
“Our primary goal is the safe and peaceful resolution of this dispute, and we encourage all parties to return to dialogue to protect the safety and security of all concerned including those occupying the facility, community members, SPDC staff and contractors”, Weli added.
He said, SPDC and its Joint Venture partners continue to implement multi-million Naira social investment programmes to the benefit of the people of Kula Kingdom, in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, notwithstanding that the company has not been allowed to operate the facilities since the illegal occupation began 13 months ago, noting that this has also impacted the revenue base of the State and the Federation at large.
The mediation process initiated by the Government of Rivers State led to the creation of the Kula Project Implementation and Monitoring Committee (PIMC) with all contending parties providing members. The PIMC is intended to serve as an interim platform for the delivery of social investment initiatives and programmes worth over N263 million in the Soku-San Berth Project, which is separate from the GMoU projects have been initiated by the communities using funds provided by the SPDC JV.
Welirestated the company’s commitment to implementing the social investment programmes for the communities including the Global Memorandum of Understanding which has suffered delay in implementation due to in-fighting among the different communities in Kula Kingdom, including Belema and Offoin-ama.
He noted that notwithstanding the prevailing situation in the area, the host communities of OML 25, including Belema and Offoin-ama, have continued to benefit from contract awards, employment of unskilled labour and SPDC’s social investment programmes, including yearly award of regular and special scholarships to eligible candidates from the area.
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