A coalition of civil society organisations in Nigeria is seeking the revocation of the Shell Petroleum Development Company’s (SPDC) operating license for OML 25 in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The group said, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010, was enacted to cushion the adverse effect of the operators and also create opportunities for interested indigenous entrepreneurs in the sector.
The CSOs represented by the International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights, (ISSJHR), Justice Advocates, International and Electorate Rights Defense and Education Network, said the license was given in error and not in good faith.
Citing the NOGICD Act 2010, Chancellor of ISSJHR, Jackson Omenazu, who spoke in Port-Harcourt on Monday, said indigenous firms should be given first consideration before foreign firms, as it is being done in other parts of the world, stressing that Nigeria should not be an exception.
He said, “We understand very well, and strongly believe the importance of Section 3, of the NOGICD Act 2010, was never enacted in error but meant to deliver the dividends and benefits, as it were, unto the good people, by giving first consideration to the indigenes.”
He, however, berated Governor Nyesom Wike for failing to take a neutral position or be on the side of the community on issues surrounding OML 25.
Jackson accused Governor Wike of failing to protect the socio-economic interest of the people, who elected him as the chief security officer of the state.
He said, “Rivers State Government should be responsible to the people of the State; Governor Wike has the duty to protect their socio-economic well being of every community in this state.
“I want to see a situation where the governor goes to the community and identifies with the women and see how to solve the problem. We expect the governor to be on the side of the people; we are ready to back him to resist the Federal Government’s renewal of that license for SPDC.
“We expect that by now, the Attorney-General of Rivers State will be in court to challenge the Federal Government over the renewal.”
Speaking further, Omenazu said it was man’s inhumanity to man for SPDC to operate in Kula for 40years, without commensurate development in the community.
In his response, Shell’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, said in the oil and gas industry, there are rules on how to transfer assets which, according to him, goes beyond Shell’s power.
He stressed that such rules should be strictly adhered to, noting, “What is important to us is what will bring investments to Niger Delta. If we are looking towards attracting investments and development, we should work with the industry rules”.
Recall that OML 25 has been shut down by host communities for over two years following allegations of neglect by Shell.