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Published On: Sat, Aug 2nd, 2014

Trouble Looms in Bonny Community over Misappropriation of Shell’s N500m

By Anderson Hart
LAGOS AUGUST 2ND (URHOBOTODAY)-Mismanagement and misappropriation of about N500m from multinational oil giant shell, and impunity over the running of the oil rich Oloma community funds in Bonny Local government area of Rivers state is set to tear the once tranquil community apart.
The development threatening to pitch Shell, the entire community and chairman of the community’s Elders council in a tripartite conflict was made known by the General Secretary of Oloma Community who also double as secretary of the Project Community Trust (P-CT) of the community, Warisenibo Gabriel M. Godwin who in a letter to the General Manager of Shell and copied to other relevant bodies called for urgent intervention to avert breach of working place.
In his strongly worded letter, he accused the Chairman of Oloma Council of Elders, Sir Amarigha Edward Hart of misappropriation of funds amounting to hundreds of millions, assuming the status of a demi-god in the community and acting with impunity and threat in the running of the community organization.
Relevant document is said to have been sent to Shell management corroborating the fact that the community secretary, Gabriel M. Godwin is a functional member of the community who should be present and consulted in the event of any dealings with the community. However the Secretary has condemned in clear terms shell’s persistent inclination in dealing with the said chairman alone through one Enobong Monday a shell staff, thereby ignoring the statutes of the GMOU reached between the community and shell.
The development has infuriated community members who are gearing up to stop a recent job about to be embarked upon by the multinational oil giant in the community. The looming crisis could even be made worse as Shell continues to remain adamant to the plight of the community members and has presently moved their equipment into the community to kick start their latest project. Shell confidence is stemming from the belief that the presence of stern looking security men leading them to the area will surmount any security challenge posed by community members.
Some community members who spoke to newsmen said shell knew they are breaching the agreement of who and who should be present in the event of any dealings with the community. They posited that the decision by shell to ignore the complaint of the community to push ahead with their job in the same community will be resisted until Sir Edward Hart gives account of stewardship to the people; a villager was quoted as saying.
Godwin in his letter to shell has disclosed that presently nobody knows the amount in the coffers of the community account because the chairman has assumed the position of secretary, treasurer and other positions. In one of the paragraphs of the letter to shell, the secretary affirmed that for a period spanning eight months, Shells Rig 1 and Rig 2 OES Passion rig operated within or in Oloma community and disbursed all the string benefits accruable to the indigenes of Oloma. However, he said neither himself nor any member of the community was alerted by shell or the chairman as stipulated by the GMOu.
Similarly, employment of about 15 security workmen as binocular watchers for the rig, diesel supply, water barge supply, tugboat supply among others were not communicated to community members who should ordinarily be beneficiaries. The letter further stated that by virtue of a P-GMOu the community was entitled to and indeed received one hundred and ten million naira from shell for a recent project, but Sir Edward had refused to call for a formal meeting for the purpose of review or deliberation of review of the project for that money. “Sir Edward Hart usurped and allotted the entire job to himself with the surreptious connivance of one Enobong Monday, a shell staff and CLO of one of the well heads through which all payments relating to the foregoing jobs are paid directly into the account of the community elder’s council chairman” said Mr. Godwin.
All efforts to reach the chairman proved abortive as stern security looking men who are aware of the objective of the visit by press men were on hand to stall efforts in that direction.
We also gathered reliably that the Police, EFCC, ICPC and some independent agencies have been contacted to investigate the matter, consequently the community has written to shell to warning that it should discontinue any job in or within the community until such investigations are concluded. Whether shell will adhere to this directive will play out a lot of melodrama in the days ahead.

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