Bayelsa Suspends MoUs Between oil Companies, Host Communities

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Bayelsa State has announced the suspension of all agreements between international oil firms and their host communities across the state.

Gov. Douye Diri’s announcement is contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah on Thursday in Yenagoa.
The suspension is on the heels of an allegation by the Bayelsa government that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was fueling crises and insecurity in its host communities in the Niger Delta.

According to the statement, agreements between oil firms and host communities should align with policies of the state government.
It said this was necessary in order to foster better relationships between host communities and the oil companies on the one hand, and among the indigenes of such communities on the other hand.

The statement said the government would begin a review of the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) between cluster boards and community trusts with International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the state.
It said henceforth, agreements between oil companies and host communities would have to be approved and monitored by the state government.

“The state government is interested in being a party to such agreements to ensure all parties comply with the terms.
“A situation where oil firms breach agreements with their hosts would no longer be tolerated. This often results in conflicts in communities.

“Consequently, no community in the state, especially those in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, should sign any GMoU with IOCs and security companies operating in their area.

“Where such agreements have been inadvertently entered into, they remain invalid subject to a review by the Office of the Attorney-General through the Ministries of Local Government and that of Mineral Resources,” it said.

When contacted, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager, SPDC, said the company was aware of the Bayelsa government’s position.
He said that the company would respond in due course.