Senate orders Shell to pay N6.9bn to Niger Delta communities

Damilola Shittu – Abuja

The Senate has directed the Shell Petroleum Development Company to respect its earlier resolution which mandated it to pay N6, 936,899,900 to some oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region.

The fresh directive followed the protest by people of the affected communities who lamented the refusal of the SPDC to comply with the resolutions of the Senate.

A firm, Bekele Jones and Associates, had sent a petition to the upper chamber to complain about the non-payment of the accumulated rentals and expired leases.

The firm specifically lamented the non-payment of the outstanding rentals for the Port Harcourt Oloibiri pipeline, the Oloibiri field, and the entire Utapate /Akwa Ibom fields.

On receipt of the petition, the Senate leadership through the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly conveyed its position to the oil firm.

The letter, dated 4th March, 2019, and signed by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori, was addressed separately to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mustapha Boss, and Managing Director, SPDC.

The Senate resolved 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.

The upper chamber 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.”

It also resolved that SPDC should respect powers of attorney donated by landowners to their agents/consultants to negotiate for them and receive their rentals from the multinational company.

The upper chamber had in its resolution mandated SPDC to pay N6,936,899,900, which is the total outstanding amount for all unpaid rentals, expired leases and re-acquisition fees stated.