May 21, 2008

Ogoni: Location of Oilfield in Dispute

Sample ImageA Shell Oil representative has allegedly denied that an oil well which recently exploded is located within the Khana Local Government Area of the Ogoni.

Below is an article published by the Nigerian Tribune:

A statement by the spokesman of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Precious Okolobo, on Rhythm FM, a Port Harcourt-based private radio station on Friday last week [16 May 2008] that the Yorla 9 oil well is not in Kono community of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State has attracted the wrath of the community, which has said that the facility is located within its area.

Reacting to the statement credited to the SPDC official, the immediate past secretary of the Kono Council of Chiefs and a prominent leader in the community, Mr. Jerry Needam, said the claim by SPDC that the oil well head, which exploded recently, ‘is about 500 metres away from Kono is “most untrue” and “unfortunate”.

In a release made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Port Harcourt on Monday [19 May 2008], Mr. Needam, former secretary of the defunct Rivers State Peace and Reconciliation Committee, set up by the Omehia administration to rehabilitate repentant cultists and militants in the state, said the SPDC’s position on the location of the Yorla 9 oil facility was “a calculated attempt to test the collective and individual will of the people of the community”.

But, the SPDC image maker, Mr. Okolobo, told the Nigerian Tribune in a telephone interview on Tuesday that Mr. Needam, who he said may not have had the authority of Kono people to speak for the community, has misrepresented what he said on the private radio station.