Palpable anxiety has continued to hold the entire business community of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following speculation that the giant oil firm, Shell Petroleum, had concluded plans to leave
the state in response to a fresh threat by an unknown militant group to resume hostilities against it.
Tension was said to have built up around the operational headquarters of the Dutch oil firm, resulting from a letter pasted on its main entrance and exit gates, which gave the company one week to close all oil-related businesses and evacuate all its staff, failure of which there would be hostilities, including kidnapping of its senior staff.
Local residents said there was no group known as Niger Delta Frontiers, going by the name the unknown group signed their three paragraph letter with, but that new groups had been springing up.
“But it is impossible knowing how serious most of the organizations from the creeks are, the best is for the security operatives to assure the company of safety instead of the news that Shell will leave Rivers
State“, said George Kuromah, a local contractor with the company
On its part, Shell on Tuesday issued a statement reassuring members of the public that there had not been any plan to relocate its operational headquarters from Port Harcourt.
Its spokesperson, Precious Okolobo, confirmed that people had been
peddling the rumour that Shell would relocate from Port Harcourt, adding that there was no truth in that.
She said the alleged threat letter was not enough to deter the firm from carrying on with its business in any part of Nigeria.
But reports say some renewed security activities, including, physical and electronic checks on persons and vehicle going in and out of the business premises of all Shell offices, including its Lagos office have been intensified since Friday when the first rumour of attack on the company’s offices was received.
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