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Eviction Order: Five Shell Officials to Appear in Court, Risk Imprisonment

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Five senior officials of Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) are expected to appear before the High Court of Bayelsa State in Yenagoa tomorrow (Thursday April 21 2016) for allegedly violating the building regulations of the state.

The accused persons, according to court documents obtained by journalists on Wednesday in Abuja are Marcus Droll, Osagie Okunbor, David Martin, Toyin Adeshina Olagunju and Johannes Van Bunnik (all of Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project at Gabrantoru, Tombia Road, Bayelsa).

The five officials, including their employer, SPDC were said to have, by the said act, committed an ofence contrary to Section 68(1)(a)  of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law 2015.

The shell officials are expected to plead to the charge tomorrow (Thursday) when they appear before the court.

They were earlier this month served with copies of criminal summons/complaint through the company’s head office at 21/22 Marina, Lagos Island shortly after the court, presided over by Justice N. Aganaga, granted the state leave for substituted service of court processes on the defendants.

They were, in the criminal summons/complaint marked: Charge No:YHC/42C/2016, accused of failing to comply, within 28 days of service of enforcement notice, “to prepare and submit your drawing, building development plan(s) for approval for the structure built/developed under Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project at Gbarantoru, off Tombia Road, Bayelsa State.”

The Executive Secretary of Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board, Boro Ige-Edaba had in a statement earlier this week, announced the sealing of the property, relying on an eviction order issued by the state High Court in Yenagoa.

He said the eviction order had granted the government of Bayelsa State leave to effect the eviction of SPDC and all occupants of the premises to enable the Physical Planning and Development Board conduct environmental, health, technical integrity and safety checks on the facility.

Ige-Edaba contended that the facility was built without a building permit (called Development Permit) as required by Law.

The eviction order had granted the government of Bayelsa State leave to effect the eviction of SPDC and all occupants of the premises to enable the Physical Planning and Development Board conduct environmental, health, technical integrity and safety checks on the facility.

The facility was said to have been built without a building permit (called Development Permit) as required by Law.

The Court had also directed the Commissioner of Police, the Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and all security agencies to facilitate the enforcement of the eviction.

Ige-Edaba had said, “The Gbaran Ubie facility was developed by Shellon about 2 million sq.m. of land (more than half of Lagos Island) in Bayelsa State without a development permit contrary to the provisions of the law and commissioned in 2010 despite subsisting stop-work order and noticed to discontinue the development without the permit.

“The Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law, 2015 requires that all developers of existing development in the state which were built without obtaining a development permit under previous planning laws applicable in the state, must submit such development to scrutiny and validation for overriding public safety and must obtain the necessary approvals from the board for a developed property permit or face the consequences for contravention.

“Despite all notices served on Shell since the commencement of the law in 2015, the company neglected, refused and failed to comply with the provisions and requirements of the law and regulations made pursuant to the law.”

The court had also ordered that all the occupants of the Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project and all its affiliated facilities in Bayelsa State to stay and remain evicted until the company complies with all the requirements of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law 2015.

According to Ige-Edaba, BSPPDB is statutorily empowered to provide effective physical planning, development control and framework for infrastructural development in the state.

He said, “To this extent, all forms of development, whether existing or intended to be carried out by the government, corporate organisations and individuals, such as buildings, road construction, laying of cable lines, erection of communication masts, bill boards and sign posts, including oil and gas installations, must comply with the requirement to obtain valid permit(s) and be within the standards approved by law and must consequently obtain the necessary approvals from the board or face the consequences for contravention.”

 

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