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 Limited 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, Peter Mrakpor Esq. 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 Ohare who led other President Generals to the Attorney-General’s office on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 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 non-employment of indigenes and regular disengagements of the few already working in the employ of the company as well as non-payment of scholarship to indigenes of the affected area from 2014 till date.
The Chairman of the President General’s Forum accused Heritage of a systemic ploy to phase out its scholarship scheme and vowed to resist the oppressive tendencies of the Company.
Chief Ohare also accused Heritage of failing 100% to implement the terms of the GMOU which was painstakingly negotiated and personally supervised by Attorney-General.
Heritage Oil Company 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 was 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.
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 peace and allow the state government to engage the company and bring all parties to a round table discussion.
Oil Mining Lease 30, comprises of 112 communities from Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko nation in Delta State.