Bayelsa Govt Sues for Patience as Kolo Creek Communities Slam 14-Day Ultimatum On SPDC

By Aherhoke Okioma

The four communities making up the Kolo-Creek Cluster Development Board in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have been urged to exercise a little more patience over the protracted delay in restoring power to the area.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the appeal on Monday when he met with community leaders, executives of the cluster board and other representatives from Otuasega, Elebele, Oruma and Imiringi at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.

The meeting came on the heels of a 14- day ultimatum issued by the Kolo-Creek Cluster Communities to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to fulfil its agreement with the cluster board on restoring electricity to the communities.

The ultimatum, which was jointly signed by the paramount rulers of Imiringi, Otuasega, Oruma and Elebele communities, among other things, demanded the immediate operationalization of the 2.5 MVA generator installed by Morpol Engineering Services Limited, and the award of contract for the Oruma high tension line.

They stated that the SPDC had “deliberately refused to honour the agreements it had with the cluster communities on several occasions since 2013.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, noted that the communities had unanimously resolved to shut down all the oil installations and platforms in Kolo-Creek at the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum.

However, addressing the high-powered delegation of the Kolo-Creek cluster communities, the Deputy Governor appealed to them to exercise some more patience, as government makes last ditch frantic efforts to resolve the issues.

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Senator Ewhrudjakpo said the state government was not happy with the attitude of the SPDC for repeatedly reneging on its promises to restore electricity to its host communities in the Kolo Creek Cluster.

He pleaded with the communities to give government the very last chance to get round the long-drawn blackout in the area, adding that nobody would blame the communities for shutting down the oil installations if the SPDC failed again for the umpteenth time to fulfill its part of the agreement.

Speaking on behalf of the communities, the Paramount Ruler of Elebele, His Royal Highness David Osene Osene, lamented that they had been suffering without light for nine years, precisely since 2013.

He said the cluster communities had been very peaceful, inspite of the provocative attitude of the SPDC for almost a decade, warning, however, that they had resolved to shut down the oil installations in their area in two weeks’ time if nothing substantial was done.

In his contribution, the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Electricity Company, Mr Olice Kemenanabo, said if all the necessary materials were provided, the power project could be delivered within the timelines reached at a recent meeting between Shell and the state government.

He noted, however, that only the SPDC could cause any further delay in the restoration of power to the communities as government had already done its part.

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