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Vanguard (Nigeria): Militants issue fresh threat to Shell

By Emma Amaize
Posted to the Web: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 
Warri —  A militant group, the Iduwuni Volunteer Force (IVF) in Bayelsa State, has threatened to shut down all flow stations/oil wells in their area belonging to  Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) if no tenable explanation is offered by the company for its non-challant attitude to the people.

The militant group has been embroiled in a running battle in the past few weeks with Shell over a statement that about N800 million was expended by the Anglo-Dutch oil firm in the execution of development projects in some oil producing communities in Iduwini kingdom.

However, the Bayelsa State government has waded into the dispute. At a recent  meeting with the SPDC, the government  volunteered  to send people to the field to verify the claim of both the militants and the company and complete any project in the  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is found not to be on ground. According to a top official of the state government, “the SPDC would pay for the differential.”

In a letter with reference number, IDU/VOL/FRC/008/2006, dated May 29 to President Olusegun Obasanjo calling for a probe of the N800m projects claim, the self-styled commander of the group, Johnson Biboye said: “Be  also informed that the I.V.F. has concluded plans to shut down all flow stations/oil wells within our communities if no tenable explanation is urgently given for the non-challant attitude of SPDC towards our people.”

External Relations Manager (Western Division) of the SPDC, Mr. Harriman Oyofo, in his reaction yesterday told Vanguard on phone that the projects the company claimed to have executed were verifiable, asking why some people were bent on making a mountain out of a mole hill.

He claimed that the militants introduced fresh items to the MoU, pointing out that the company signed agreement with only nine Iduwuni communities and do not know the new ones that the group was introducing.

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