Nigeria: Brits asked to influence Shell

Warri - Former military governor of Niger state, Brig-Gen Cletus Emein (rtd) and some other Ijaw leaders have asked the British government to advise the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to stop taking undue advantage of the people of the Niger-Delta if the company wants to operate without trouble in the region.

Speaking at Kiagbodo, the country home of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark when a delegation from the British government led by the head of the Africa Department (Equitorial), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr. Tim Hitchens visited, last weekend, to explore ways for peace in the Niger-Delta, Emein said the British government had a major stake in its operations and should do something.

"If you go to the environment in Warri and you feel the pulse of the people, they are very edgy, this time, not among themselves but about Shell. Some contractors have been owed six months, one year and SPDC is doing business even at the peak of the crisis. So there is absolutely no reason for them not to pay the contractors", he said.

The former governor also asserted that "the more you keep these youths and adults out of job, then, the more edgy they become and they tend to look for other means of survival", adding that "there are so many talented people in the Niger Delta, especially the Warri area but we are aware that a lot of the quota that they give to the expatriates is creating jobs for people from over there than creating jobs for the people here and the youths will always resist these kind of things.

"While we are aware that you cannot tell them as an organization, do not this, do not do that, I think with the kind of dialogue we are having here and the same kind of dialogue you have with them, some of these things would be tackled", he said.

Another Ijaw leader, Chief Tunde Smooth told the British delegation that when indigenous contractors from the region are given jobs, they carry the youths along, but when the jobs are given to outsiders, trouble set in because they bring people from elsewhere to do the jobs the jobless youths of the region would have done, pointing out that this was a major contradiction in the policies of the SPDC that has to be changed.

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Source: Emma Amaize, Vanguard (Nigeria) |http://www.vanguardngr.com/

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