Published On: Wed, Apr 24th, 2019

Oil coy, communities’ faceoff: Delta govt. wades in

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From Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

To avert the socio economic hazard of the resultant effects of an imminent shutdown of over 90,000 barrel per day oil production in Oil Mining Lease 30, the Delta State Government has waded into the faceoff between Heritage Oil Company and over 112 oil bearing communities.
The communities have issued a 7-day ultimatum to Heritage Oil Company and its subsidiaries to vacate its territory or face the wrath of the people.
Speaking through the President General of Ewvreni Community, Chief Victor Ohare who also doubles as the Chairman of President Generals Forum of OML 30 during a meeting with the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to brief the state Government of their grievances with the Oil Exploration Company, accused Heritage of breaching all the terms contained in the GMOU signed between the Communities and the Oil Company.
Chief Victor who led other President Generals to the Attorney-General’s office on Monday, also accused Heritage and its subsidiaries of using Security agencies to intimidate, harass and suppress their genuine agitations.
He listed some of the atrocities of the company to include none employment of indigenes and regular disengagements of the few already working in the employ of the company as well as none payment of scholarship to indigenes of the affected area from 2014 till date. Chief Victor accused Heritage of a systemic ploy to phase out its scholarship scheme and vowed to resist the oppressive tendencies of the Company.
The chairman of the President General’s Forum also accused Heritage of failing 100% to implement the terms of the GMOU which was painstakingly negotiated and personally supervised by Attorney-General. Heritage was also accused of awarding contracts including that of pipeline surveillance and other maintenance services to foreigners and their cronies, thereby totally neglecting the principle of local content which was part of the GMOU that was signed by the parties.
He said all attempts to invite the company to a round table discussion to resolve the misunderstanding between them has been rebuffed by the Company hence the ultimatum.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor Esq while addressing the delegation of the aggrieved community representatives, thanked them for not resorting to violence in driving home their demands.
He explained the process it took the state government to supervise the negotiation process which he said was transparent and painstaking, saying that the GMOU was the collective will of all the parties involved.
Peter Mrakpor, who expressed sadness over the development, however, assured them that Government will urgently wade into the matter and it would be resolved as soon as possible to forestall breach of the peace in the state and disruption of oil production.
The Justice Commissioner appealed to them to maintain the peace and allow the state government to engage the company and bring all parties to a round table discussion.
Oil Mining Lease 30, comprise of 112 communities from Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko nation.

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