Photo credit: NNPC Nigeria.
The strife between Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC and the Belema community was nearing crisis point. Then the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari intervened. The GMD NNPC on Tuesday reconciled SPDC and Belema setting the stage for Peace to return to the community after over two years of conflict.
In a display of unexpected warmth, representatives of Shell and Belema shook hands and embraced in the presence of Kyari, and Timipre Sylva, honorable minister state for petroleum. Sylva, Shell head in Nigeria and Belema rep Kyari thanked the honourable minister, Belema oil and Shell for agreeing to sign the new peace deal. Countless skirmishes occurred over the course of the over two years of rift between the community and Shell.
As recently as October 2018, the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF, alleged forceful invasion of Belema flow station and gas plant by security operatives on alleged orders of Shell, to forcefully resume oil exploration on the facility. Two months earlier, the host communities of OML 25, otherwise known as the Belema field, had shut down the Belema flow station and continue to occupy it over some issues and differences with SPDC bordering on neglect and underdevelopment of the community by the oil firm.