For a peaceful environment that will guarantee uninterrupted oil production in the country, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has urged oil companies to be fair and just in their dealings with host communities.
The governor made the call in Asaba on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at a stakeholders meeting to resolve a petition to the Delta State government by Olomoro community, in Isoko South Local Government Area of the State over oil prospecting issues.
The community which is one of the host communities to OML 30 had petitioned the state government over non consideration of indigenes in award of contracts; non renewal of Freedom To Operate (FTO) by contracting firms, employment of indigenes and delay in payment of General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) funds by Heritage Energy, operators of the marginal field.
Governor Okowa represented by the State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba in an intervention meeting with stakeholders ordered Heritage Energy to renew the FTO within 72 hours and ensure adequate funding of the GMoU on or before 1st of December, 2019 and consideration of indigenes when there is vacancy.
The Governor however warned communities against blocking of roads, unnecessary protests without first writing to the State Government through the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
“Let me first commend Olomoro community for seeking justice through due process. It is important for oil companies to ensure that they are fair and just in their dealings with host communities to ensure a peaceful environment for oil production.
“As a government we are irrevocably committed to ensuring a better deal for our host communities and as such we encourage oil companies to do everything humanly possible to make peace with their host communities.
“As a prelude to resolving this dispute, I urge Heritage Energy to ensure a renewal of the FTO within 72 hours of this meeting and also to ensure adequate funding provisions for the operationalisation of the GMoU with the host communities.
“To also foster better relations with the community, Heritage Energy should ensure they consider qualified indigenes of host communities int their recruitment process and contract awards in the spirit of the Local Content Act.,” he added
Head Community Relations and Security of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited, Sylvester Okoh pledged the company’s commitment to comply with government directives to resolve all FTOs and implementation of the GMoU with the community, assuring that equity and fairness will be applied in their dealings with their host communities.
President General of Olomoro Community, Pastor Blessing Agboro thanked the State Government for the intervention assuring that the community will continue to follow the path of the law in their agitations for a better deal from the company.
The meeting was attended by management of Heritage Energy, the Commander, 222 Battalion, Nigeria Army, Maj. Ogidan, community leaders, among others.