Bisi ABASS

 

The managing director of the Bayelsa State Electricity Company, Olice Kemenanabo, has been given a marching order to immediately connect the Otuasega community to the national grid.

The Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the directive as the government waded into a crisis between Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its Otuasega host community.

Otuasega community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa shut activities at SPDC’s facilities on December 21, 2021, to protest its failure to provide electricity by December 14, 2021, as promised.

Shell had earlier set December 14, 2021, as the target date to begin power supply from its Kolo Creek Oil and Gas Manifold to cluster communities in the area.

The deputy governor’s media aide, Doubara Atasi, said in a statement on Monday that Mr Ewhrudjakpo gave the directive during an emergency meeting held with Otuasega community leaders and representatives of SPDC.

The deputy governor decried the continued blackout in the Otuasega community and its environs.

He blamed SPDC’s failure on the inability of the government, Shell, and the people of Otuasega to meet regularly and follow up on resolutions reached at the September 24, 2021, tripartite meeting on the power supply.

He said the community would enjoy power supply from the national grid as a temporary measure, while efforts would be intensified to power the community from the SPDC’s manifold in the first quarter of 2022.

Mr Ewhrudjakpo assured that regular meetings would be held with Shell until the power supply issue was resolved.

He appealed to the people of Otuasega to be patient and to remain law-abiding to enable the government and Shell to end blackout in the community.

Earlier, the Otuasega Community Development Committee Chairman, Raniyar Marcus, expressed disappointment with Shell for reneging on its promise to deliver the job by December 14, 2021.

Mr Marcus said the December 21, 2021, non-violent protest that led to the shutting of the SPDC manifold was staged by community members to register their anger.

He said Shell had always taken the Otuasega people for granted.

In his presentation, Shell’s Community Relations Manager (East), Evans Krukrubo, explained that the company was not happy that the power project was not delivered on schedule.

Mr Krukrubo, however, thanked the Otuasega community for their maturity, patience and understanding so far.

He assured them that Shell was committed to working with the state government to deliver on the project by the end of February.

 

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