The Bayelsa State government has sealed the premises of the Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas facility, a property of Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria Ltd.
A statement issued on Monday by the Executive Secretary of Bayelsa State – Physical Planning and Development Board, Chief Boro Ige-Edaba, said the sealing of the company in Gbarantoru, Yenagoa Local Government Area (LGA), Bayelsa State, followed 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 Shell and all occupants of the premises to enable the Physical Planning and Development Board to conduct environmental, health, technical integrity and safety checks at the facility.
The facility was reportedly built without a building 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.
"The Gbaran Ubie facility was developed by Shell on about 2 million square meters of land, more than half of Lagos Island, in Bayelsa State without a development permit, contrary to the provisions of the law. The facility was commissioned in 2010 despite a subsisting stop-work order and a notice to discontinue the development without the permit,” Mr. Ige-Edaba said.
He explained that the facility violated the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2015, which “requires that all developers of existing developments in the State which were built without obtaining development permits under previous planning laws applicable in the State submit such developments to scrutiny and validation” in the interest of public safety.
"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," Mr. Ige-Edaba added.
The court had also ordered that all the occupants of the Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project and its affiliated facilities in Bayelsa State remain evicted until the company complies with all the requirements of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2015.
According to Mr. Ige-Edaba, the law is statutorily empowered to provide effective physical planning, development control and a framework for infrastructural development in the State.
"To this extent, all forms of development, whether existing or intended to be carried out by the government, corporate organizations and individuals... must comply with the requirement to obtain valid permits and be within the standards approved by law and must consequently obtain the necessary approvals from the board or face the consequences for contravention."