15 Delta communities shut down Ogbeti-Okun-OML 40 Oil Field over non-recognition
Fifteen Ijaw coastal communities in the Egbema Kingdom along the Benin River, Warri Local Government Area of Delta State have shut down operations at Ogbeti-Okun-OML 40 Oil Field.
The grouse of the communities is their non-recognition as host communities by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and ECREST, the new operators of the oil field.
The people of the 15 Ijaw Coastal Communities, who besieged the facility on Sunday with placards with inscriptions expressing their grievances, said they would not leave the field and no vessel would be moved out of the base until their demands were met.
Speaking during the peaceful protest, two of the representatives of the 15 Ijaw Communities, Mr Joe Bokson and Mr Senior Kiri said since the last 33 years when oil exploration began in the Ogbeti-Okun oil field, the Ijaw communities have nothing to show from the various operators.
Mr Bokson and Mr Kiri disclosed that in 2018, when NPDC and ECREST began the dredging of the oil field, the Ijaw communities protested against the injustice, calling for the need for them to be recognized as host communities.
At a meeting that followed in Warri North Local Government Area Secretariat, Koko, the communities had called on the management of NPDC and ECREST to pay their benefits and entitlements.
Comrade Sobo Shagari who’s a leader in the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), while speaking at the Sunday protest, disclosed that after paying benefits and entitlements for two months, NPDC and ECREST abandoned the agreement reached.
Comrade Shagari called on President Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to prevail on the management of NPDC and ECREST to recognize them as host communities just like their Itsekiri neighbours.
Also, the eldest man in the affected Ijaw communities, Chief Sunday Eyenmi and a woman leader in the area, Mrs Eunice Momo, disclosed that the exploitation of oil in the Ogbeti-Okun Oil Field since 1987 has destroyed aquatic lives and their fishing nets in the Benin River.
Meanwhile, while addressing the protesters, who protested on canoes, a representative of NPDC and ECREST, Mr Prince Orji, commended the peaceful disposition of the protesters and promised to communicate their demands to the management of the OML 40 field.
Tribune Online reports that the 15 Ijaw Coastal communities asking for recognition as host communities to the Ogbeti-Okun Oil Field include Asisabobutie, Ubebrakui, Agbuwagha, Erekoughan, Okofagbene, Ojudougbene, Idebanegbene, Ologbamkan, Azama, Oyangbene, Adagbrasa, Asantuwagbene, Oborogbene, and Emelebiri.