For failing to honour its invitation by the House Committee on Public Complaints and Petition, Rivers State House of Assembly has ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to appear before the executive session for questioning over alleged planned demolition of 800 buildings in Umuebule.
This followed the presentation of the report of the House Committee on Public Complaints and Petition by its chairman, Hon. Evans Bipi.
The member representing Ogu/Bolo constituency at the State Assembly, had in his committee report informed the House of threats by Shell to demolish over 800 buildings in Umuebulu community of Etche Local Government Area of the state through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development without completing the payment of the agreed compensation to the property owners.
Hon. Evans Bipi who is also the Chief Whip of the House, said Shell should pay for all the properties earmarked for demolition before embarking on the exercise.
He disclosed that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Tami Danagogo, had intervened in this matter while he was serving as Commissioner for Housing and Physical Planning in 2015/2016, and an agreement reached for full compensation to landlords that would be affected before their properties could be pulled down, regretting that SPDC, instead of sticking to the terms of agreement, had gone back to the ministry seeking shortcut to demolish the houses.
Bipi maintained that the state will not fold its arms and watch people's investments and hard work wasted by SPDC without doing due diligence to the owners.
“The state government had intervened in the matter through the office of the SSG in 2015 and 2016, and the agreement for the compensation of all property owners reached, some Umuebule people were compensated then, but now, Shell wants to use all its powers to do away with the rest of the people without compensating them.” he alleged.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ikunyi Owaji-Ibani, commended the committee for the detailed report and warned SPDC to ensure it honours the House invitation to explain the reason for disobeying the invitation of the House.
Meanwhile, Mr Speaker has asked the chairman and commissioner designates of the soon to be reconstituted Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC), screened and ratified by the House to ensure effective service delivery to the people of the state.
The commissioner designates include , Justice George Omereji rtd chairman, Doris Ruhuoma Chuku commissioner, Chioma Ochia, Hope Barango, Lysia Gilbert, Bariene Nwikinanee,Dr Solomon Egbe and Dr Iyeneone Tamunobenetonari.