A militant group in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, the Iduwini Volunteer Force, has given Shell Petroleum Development Company a 14-day ultimatum to vacate the community or face unpleasant consequences.
The militants accused Shell of unilaterally terminating a N8.2m annual surveillance contract it signed with the group in 2007.
In a letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent in Yenagoa on Sunday, the group said the ultimatum became necessary after all attempts to make the oil giant see reasons on the need to restore the contract had failed.
It threatened that at the expiry of the notice, if Shell failed to rescind its decision, the militants would be left with no alternative than to commence immediate attacks of its installations, adding that all its unit commanders had been put on alert.
The group also demanded the payment of seven years arrears on the contract, in addition to the restoration of the contract.
The letter stated in part, “Your Excellency will recall that as Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005 to 2007, you graciously intervened in the lingering crisis between the Iduwini Volunteer Force and the Shell Petroleum Development Company, where it was resolved among others:
“That for the peace, security and safety of oil companies’ activities within the Iduwini area of the SPDC operations, that a running surveillance contract amounting to N8.2m per year be awarded to the leadership of the IVF and it was awarded.
“That the surveillance contract started in 2007 and was dutifully carried out by the leadership of the Iduwini Volunteer Force and payment for 2007 made.
“But in 2008, without any known breach of contract, the SPDC unilaterally stopped the contract till date. Although our boys are still rendering the services of securing oil facilities in the aforementioned areas as contained in the contract paper.”
The group, therefore, demanded that the SPDC should as a matter of urgent national importance be directed to pay its members seven years of outstanding arrears and also immediately review the contract upward or face unpleasant consequences.
It said the demand was made in good faith not minding the political situation in the country.
“This is to clarify the matter so that those who do not have the history of our struggle in Iduwini area will not be quick to add that Ijaw people have started making trouble now that President Jonathan has lost the presidential election,” it said.