Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has told the Shell Petroleum Development Company operating in Owaza community in Ukwa West to review its relationship with the host community and Abia State in general.
The Governor was expressing Government’s unhappiness over the actions of the company which has been operating in the community since 1958, saying that government was not happy with the company, as its claims it has been sponsoring youths in secondary schools .
In his words, “Shell as a corporate entity that explore up to 20,000 barrels of oil per day, can’t claim to be giving scholarship to students in Owazza when such is only given to secondary school students”
He continued, ” It means the company is not training Owazza youths in engineering and other higher disciplines, so as to get people who will be capable of working in Shell in the future. Saying that the company has committed N460 million since 1958 in Owazza is unfair to say the least”
Dr. Ikpeazu stresses that 100% of SPDC key staff reside in Portharcourt and previous attempts by the Board of Internal Revenue for them to pay their taxes in Abia failed. He regretted that Shell has not been fair to Owaza people noting that no single Owaza person works in the company.
The Governor called on Shell company to be careful not to encourage our people to achieve results through agitation. He asked them to be serious on how they deal with the host community.
Dr. Ikpeazu, who assured the company of creating condusive environment for the to do business and even invest more in Abia, said Abia is investment friendly, adding that “we are very proud of the dispositions of the youths of Owaza and other oil communities in Abia” and emphasized the need for all stakeholders to join hands to help the Federal government to come out of recession.
Speaking earlier, the Land East Hub Manager and leader of the delegation, Mr. Sam Ezugworie said that Shell has enjoyed good relationship with the present administration in Abia State and has enjoyed a peaceful relationship with the host community. He said that they have awarded scholarship to some Owazza secondary students and expressed preparedness to work with the government, requesting that more conducive environment be created for the company to thrive. The leader said that over the years, SPDC has committed about N460 million in Owazza community citing the cottage hospital as part of their Corporate Social responsibilities.
Chief Sam Nwogu, on behalf of the host community thanked the Governor for conveying the meeting. He informed that three oil wells belonging to Ukwa West were given to Obigbo North in Rivers instead of Abia and requested that Imo-River oil wells be renamed to Owazza oil well so as to make sure the revenues are remitted to Abia coffers.
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