The Bayelsa State government has sealed the premises of Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas facility, a property belonging to Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria Limited.
In a statement issued on Monday by the Executive Secretary of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board, Chief Boro Ige-Edaba, stated that the sealing of the company, located in Gbarantoru in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa Statewas due to an eviction order issued by the State High Court in Yenagoa.
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 and all security agencies to facilitate the enforcement of the eviction.
Ige-Edaba said: “The Gbaran Ubie facility was developed by Shell on 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 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, the 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.”