Leaders of OML 30 communities mobilise against oil firm

OML 30
His Majesty, Wilson Ojakovo Oghoghovwe Oharisi 111 (jp) The ovie of Ughelli.

LEADERS of communities hosting Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30 have been urged to unite with stakeholders to effectively tackle Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd (HEOSL).

This is coming following the alleged ongoing rancour among communities which are hosts to OML 30.

The call was made on Wednesday at an all-encompassing meeting of traditional rulers, Community Representative Committee (CRC), as well as the Community Development Board (CDB), at the palace of HRM, Dr Wilson Ojakovo, Oharisi lll, the Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom.

Nigerian Tribune recalled that there have been allegations of invasion of OML 30 communities by military men supposedly brought in by yet-to-be-introduced oil operators.

Reports said there has been an internal transition from one oil company to another without proper introductions to community leaders.

Besides, the known operator, HEOSL, had failed to meet its necessary obligations to the host communities since it was introduced to them in March 2017.

The Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom, in his welcome address read by the secretary of the royal father’s host to OML 30, charged all parties to unite against the erring company.

He noted that the people have been continually marginalised and disregarded by the oil company, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure that HEOSL is stopped from causing more havoc.

“We do not benefit much from the business of oil exploration that is being carried out in our lands, and we are here today to do something about that.

We want this trend that has continued for so long to stop.

“Rather than take advantage of the ongoing transition amongst the operators to negotiate our stake in the oil business as a united people, we are divided among ourselves.

“I therefore want to appeal to us that this is not the time to fight amongst ourselves.

If we do that now, we should not blame the oil corporations for divide and rule in the future, because we would have succeeded in dividing ourselves for them to take advantage once again.

“But now is the time for us to determine how best we can benefit from the oil exploration business in OML 30.

If we can focus our energies in achieving that, we will have no reason to regret this decision in the future,” the monarch said.

Meanwhile, a yet-to-confirmed report says two persons had died in Agbarha-Owhewhe community as a result of the actions of OML 30’s oil operator.

The CRC chairman, Hon. (Chief) Victor Ohare, while peaking, disclosed that all efforts to reach the managing director of HEOSL to address the recent development as well as the failings of the company, had received no response.

The CDB chairman, Morris Odiovwa, has called on the state and federal governments to wade into the matter.

He disposed that there has been tension in the communities because of the activities of the operators, pointing out that the Niger Delta has been peaceful lately and the activities of the IOC may cause a breach.

“We, the Niger Delta, especially Delta state, are just recovering from a monstrous attack from 2016. And just when we are picking up, the activities of the IOC have decided to take us back.

“The traditional rulers, president generals and the board have decided to come together and put a stop to that madness.

“We have all unanimously for the first time, come together because they are used to this divide and rule among us. So the traditional rulers have insisted that unity must be seen.

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“We don’t want violence, we don’t want militancy in our lands. We don’t want crisis, we don’t want tension. Today, we have decided that the activities of Heritage should seize forthwith.

“We are saying that Delta State government should step up, the Federal Government should step and come into this matter and put a stop to the madness.

“In the main time, the traditional rulers, the PGs and the Board will also continue maintaining the existing peace pending when the issue is resolved,” Morris said.

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