Crisis looms in Ondo, Delta border communities over oil discovery

From Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

Trouble is gradually building up in Ondo/ Delta borderline communities following the discovery of oil in the borderline communities of Ijaw and Ilaje.
The Ilaje Community in Ondo State has alleged that the oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited was sidelining the community failure to negotiate with the affected people, especially as the discovery was in their domain.
But the community in a letter addressed to Chevron Nigeria Limited signed by one Blessing Omagbemi, a leader in the community, a copy made available to our reporter, urged the Ondo State government to persuade the oil company to shelve its plan of acquiring the land until the controversy surrounding the land is resolved.
The people in the letter had vowed to protect what they claimed belongs to them as they issued seven days ultimatum to the oil company to rescind its decision on the aquisition plan as against their resolution and agreement for Chevron Nigeria Limited to stay action pending when the issues surrounding the oil location are resolved.
Part of the letter reads:”As a follow up of the meeting held in Akure,Ondo State regarding the land aquisition for Saturn Oil well on the borderline of Ondo and Delta States, we are reliably informed that Chevron Nigeria Limited has decided to go ahead at its own peril with aquisition plan against our resolution and agreement that Chevron Nigeria Limited should stay action pending when issues around the oil location are resolved, We Ilaje Communities situated on the borderline of Ondo State and Delta will vehemently oppose any Clandestine move by Chevron Nigeria Limited to negotiate with the Ijaw Communities in Itsekelewu, Opuama and Itsekiri Communities of Ebokiti , Ugbege,Ototo , Jakpa and Igbokoda without Ilaje Communities at the negotiation table” The letter stated further that” for the avoidance of doubts, the Ilaje Communities situated along the boarderline are Oretin, Odun-oyinbo,Ogungbeje, Beku, Yeren, Ebiwon, Gbenebite,Ubakanallaje, among others, and for the purpose of emphasis, these Ilaje Communities, Itsekiri and Ijaw Communities are interwoven and have been enjoying relative peace with the Ijaw and Itsekiri Communities on borderline, we have been coexistence for a long time inspite of the fragile peace predominant among us.”
But in a swift reaction, officials of the Chevron Nigeria Limited who confirmed the oil discovery to journalists in the area on condition of anonymity described the action of the Ilaje Communities as plot to cause trouble, adding that Chevron Nigeria Limited will do everything possible to maintain peaceful coexistence among the two states especially where the oil well was located in various communities.

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