The umbrella body of Ijaw Youths worldwide, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), has threatened to shut down the exploration activities of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over alleged violation of the Nigerian content laws which deprived host communities and local contractors in the oil and gas sector of jobs and others.
The IYC said the youths were ready to shut down the exploration activities of the Shell Petroleum Development Company “even if it means to be killed by the trigger-happy Niger Delta Military Joint Task Force in the region.
The body said the warning was to put the federal government, the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), security agencies, and leadership of multti-national oil companies on notice to avoid breakdown of law and order, vowing to engage multinationals until their demands are met.
National Spokesman of the IYC, Ebilade Ekerefe, in an nteractive session in Yenagoa, yesterday, said despite the intervention of senior officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), officials of the SPDC terminated jobs meant for indigenous contractors.
Ekerefe said contracts which ought to be awarded to local contractors and jobs for host communities in the Niger Delta Region were been given to relatives of expatriates and other Nigerians at the helms of affairs of the multinationals, depriving cals of their rights.
He stressed that the situation was unacceptable.
The IYC spokesman noted that local contractors from the region have met all value procurement requirements by the certifying bodies in the country to qualify to be awarded such contracts and be gainfully employed in those fields, but frowned at the actions of the SPDC and other oil multinationals.
He added, “The Ijaw Nation is troubled and angered by the ongoing deliberate deprivation and oppression against indigenes of host communities by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
“It is an open fact that we are one of the major producers of crude oil in Nigeria and in view of our agitations for improved regulations of the oil and gas industry and the bloody sacrifices we made for peace to prevail for an improved crude oil explorations and end to militancy in the region.
“Despite the known sacrifices that had led to the existing Local Content Act and the Petroleum Industry Act, it is worthy to note that these companies that are supposed to abide by the laws are not obeying them.
“These laws are to regulate the involvement of indigenes of host communities in the businesses of crude oil exploration and the benefits to the people that kept the peace and assist in the security of the nation’s wealth.”
He added: “But it is an open fact that these oil multinationals, including the SPDC, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and others, have showed high level of disdain to host community indigenes with little or no benefits.
“Even the few small jobs being handled by indigenous contractors are being taken away from them.
“A case in point is the GA Logistics Service Contracts. The small contract, which entails supply of speedboats and other logistics materials for the use of the security personnel stationed at the oil facilities in and around the host communities”.
“Until now, this security contract was handled by indigenous oil host communities. But SPDC is taking away the said GSA contracts from the indigenous contractors and planning to give same to non-Indigenous contractors.
“In fact, SPDC had already sent termination notices to the indigenous contractors before the process was suspended after much protests from oil host communities.
“Let the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide put on record that the council is ready to shut down the exploration activities of the Shell Petroleum Development Company “even if it means to be killed by the trigger-happy and the Niger Deltaphobe military Joint Task Force in the region.
“The Ijaw Youths Council is calling on the SPDC to stop the deliberate deprivation and oppression against indigenes of host communities. We are not going to issue ultimatum as expected but are ready to occupy the platforms of the affected oil multinationals. We would make our position known by following the laid down rule of engagement with these errant oil multinationals.
“We are also determined to join our ijaw brothers to resist, by every means possible any further tendencies of oppression and deprivation in the form of NIPEX or otherwise against our indigenous contractors in the fold of the oil multinationals, particularly the SPDC
“As point of information, these oppressed contractors met all requirements by the SPDC and even went further to register on NIPEX. NIPEX is an arm of the National Petroleum Investment Management Service (NAPIMS).It is an electronic one-stop transaction centre that improves on value procurement in the oil and gas industry.
“We also want to draw the attention of the Nigerian Content, Monitoring and Development Board (NCMDB) to the ongoing violation of the local content policy by the SPDC and declare that these oppressed indigenes of the region and contractors should be given “Right of First Refusal” based on their performance and their origin”.
He advocated for the strict adherence to provisions of the existing Local Content and Petroleum Industry Acts, stressing that these laws regulate the involvement of local and host communities in the business of oil exploration and benefits the people, resulting in the peace and security of the nation’s oil infrastructure in the region.