Leadership of Bilabiri Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has appealed to the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to wade into the leadership tussle at Mien Cluster Development Board, CDB.
According to the community, Mr. David Otiti, representative of Bilabiri 1 on Mien CDB, a body that administers development funds provided by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, who was recalled, is still being recognised by government and SPDC.
It was gathered that Mien CDB was inaugurated in October 2018 for a five-year tenure but the recall process for Otiti commenced on July 14 less than two years into the five-year tenure.
A letter to the deputy governor sighted by our correspondent said the intervention of the state government would nip the brewing crisis in the bud and preserve the existing peace for oil and gas exploration.
In the letter signed by the Community Development Committee, CDC, Chairman, Mr. David Bazigha, Chief Otiti Miebiotu, monarch of Bilabiri 1 and youth president, Elijah Obon, the community urged the state government to prevail on officials of its Ministry of Mineral Resources to effect its decisions by invoking the recall as spelt out in the Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU, without further delay.
They noted that at the end of the next one week, the community would be left with no option than to shut down oil facilities at Estuaries Area oil field operated by SPDC, adding that they had maintained industrial harmony since 2018 when the recall process started.
According to the community, it is regrettable that since the community unanimously recalled its representative and communicated same to the Ministry of Mineral Resources, its officials are yet to enforce the recall.
They alleged that officials of the ministry have been compromised to take steps to undermine the powers vested in the community by virtue of the convention, Operating Principles and Procedure Guidelines, OPPG, of the GMoU between SPDC and Bilabiri 1 Community.
The letter copied to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Ogbere, urged them to wade into the matter to forestall imminent breakdown of law and order.
“In 2018 as per the wordings of the OPPG, that guides and directs activities between SPDC and Bilabiri 1 Community, the community nominated and approved the appointment of one of their own, Mr. David Otiti, who was eventually sworn in by the Ministry of Mineral Resources on October 9, 2018 in line with Section 3.2.5, 3.1.6 and 3.1.7.
“Due to issues that fell below the standard of practice of the chairman of the community trust and based on Section 3.1.10 of the OPPG, he was recalled and a nomination was made to replace him.
“Having met all conditions required for the recall, the people and leadership of Bilabiri 1 Community have resolved to shut down oil facilities within seven days if the ministry continues to dilly-dally in carrying out its duties as required,” the letter reads in part.
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