Following a protest by communities affected by exploration activities by Shell Petroleum Development Company, the Nigerian Senate has issued a fresh directive to the oil giant on the payment of N6.9 billion to the communities.
It all stared with a petition by a firm, Bekele Jones and Associates, to the upper chamber of Nigeria’s legislature complaining about the non-payment of accumulated rentals and expired leases.
Specifically, the firm lamented the non-payment of the outstanding rentals for the Port Harcourt Oloibiri pipeline, the Oloibiri field, and the entire Utapate /Akwa Ibom fields. This led the Senate’s leadership, through the Clerk of the National Assembly, to convey its position to the oil firm in a letter dated March 4 2019 and signed by the Clerk, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori.
Apart from being sent to Managing Director of SPDC, the letter was separately copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, with the Senate’s resolution that the firm should pay a uniform rate of N600,000 per hectare of land as rent per annum for all loss of use of surface rights from 2014 clearly spelt out.
The Senate also directed the multinational company to “cancel all long term leases of 99 years already imposed on landowners and comply with the provisions of the Oil Pipeline Act which stipulate a term of 20 years only” and respect powers of attorney donated by landowners to their agents/consultants to negotiate for them and receive their rentals from the multinational company.