Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has threatened to shut down operations of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over alleged contravention of Local Content Act in the appointment of expatriates.
MEND’s spokesperson, ‘General’ Gbomo Jommo, who gave the threat yesterday in an electronic mail, said the group’s attention had been drawn to SPDC’s nefarious activities, which are intended to instigate fresh crises in the Niger Delta and the entire country.
It said their bitterness bordered on alleged violation of the Nigerian Content Development Act 2010 and the politics of selective implementation as demonstrated by the SPDC.
MEND alleged that contrary to provisions of the Act, the SPDC had continued to engage and retain the services of expatriates in strategic positions that should be held by qualified Nigerians.
“A clear example is the appointment and retention of De Meyer Thierry as Manager of Well Engineering. Expatriates had occupied the office of General Manager of Well Engineering in the SPDC before the Local Content Act came into being.
“As a matter of fact, the position was occupied by Hans Flikeman, but when the Act came into force, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Ijaw National Congress (INC) and other stakeholders engaged the SPDC, which led to the appointment of Oluruntoba Akinmoladun as the first indigenous General Manager of Well Engineering.
“In keeping with the provisions of the Act, when Oloruntoba completed his tenure, SPDC appointed Isaac Iyamu General Manager of the company. But due to its divide and rule tactics, Iyamu was framed up and removed. He was replaced with De Meyer Thierry in violation of the Local Content Act,” MEND stated.
The group further explained that after Thierry completed Iyamu’s tenure and finished serving his (Thierry’s) term, the SPDC continued to retain him as General Manager of Well Engineering, contrary to provisions of the law, adding: “Here lies our bitterness and anger.”
It noted that SPDC dared not infringe on the laws in its home country, but felt absolute that it could take the nation and its laws for granted, adding that by its action, SPDC was inviting crises in the Niger Delta and setting the stage for disruption of its operations.
“At a time like this when all hands should be on deck to ensure peace in the energy vault and economic hub of the nation, Shell is setting the stage to return to the dark old days of unrest.
“We will not beg the SPDC to do the right thing. We are giving Shell an ultimatum to replace Thierry with a Niger Delta person in line with the Local Content Act, or face total dismantling of its operations, including its oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta,” it added.