RIVERS ASSEMBLY VOWS TO FORCEFULLY MOVE SHELL TO THE HOUSE IF…
Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have resolved to summon the management of a multinational company: Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to the floor of the House to answer questions relating to plans to demolish 800 buildings in Umuebule, Etche Local Government Area.
The Assembly vowed to use whatever measure, including forceful means to bring the officials of SPDC to appear before an executive session on a date ND time to be decided by the speaker, Ikunyi Owaji Igbani.
The resolution followed the failure of Shell to honour the several invitations to it by members of the House Committee on Public Complaints and Petition.
The committee chairman and member representing Ogu/Bolo Constituency at the State Assembly, Evans Bipi had presented a committee report on threats by Shell to demolish over 800 houses in Umuebulu community of Etche Local Government Area of the state through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development without completing the payment of compensation as agreed with the property owners.
Bipi, who is also the Chief Whip of the House, said Shell should pay for all the properties earmarked for demolition before it would embark on the exercise.
BIPI said the Rivers State Government through the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) had intervened in the matter in 2015/2016, and an agreement reached for full compensation to landlords that would be affected before their properties could be pulled down.
The committee Chairman regretted that SPDC refused to stick to the terms of the agreement but went back to the ministry seeking shortcut to invade the properties.
He insisted that the state will not fold its arms and watch people’s investments, hard work wasted by Shell without doing due diligence to the owners.
“The State Government had intervened in the matter through the office of the SSG in 2015 and 2016 and the agreement for the compensation of all property owners reached, some Umuebule people were compensated then but now, Shell wants to use all its powers to do away with the rest of the people without compensating them.” he stated.
In their contributions, other lawmakers expressed anger and dissatisfaction with SPDC for neglecting the invitation of the House and vowed to use force including asking the Police to arrest and bundle the management of the company to the Assembly.
In his ruling, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ikwunyi Owaji-Ibani, who also expressed sadness at the attitude of ShHELL said the company would appear before an executive session to explain the reason for disobeying the invitation of the House.
He commended the committee for the detailed report.