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Community appeals to Delta govt over face-off with Agip

By Festus Ahon
UGHELLI —  OLEH community and nine oil landlord families have appealed to Delta State government to prevail on Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, to respect the agreement it had with  them to change the name of an oil well in their area from Irri well five to Oleh, after the expiration of the five-day ultimatum served the company.

They called on Delta State government to prevail on the management of the company to comply with the agreement it reached with the community to withdraw from the location, pending when all issues between them and the company were resolved to avert breakdown of law and order in the area.

The ultimatum was issued during a meeting it held with officials of Delta State government, DPR and management of Agip.

Chairman of Oleh Community Development Committee, CDC, Elder Johnson Ossoh, said the five days ultimatum issued to the oil company was to enable it to properly secure the well and effect the change of the well’s name.

According to him, “the gentleman agreement reached with the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in Lagos was that we, Oleh community, should give them five days to secure the well, after which Agip will have to shut down and withdraw from the station until all issues between the community and Agip are amicably resolved.

“But since the expiration of the ultimatum on 9 April 2010, the unwillingness and reluctance of Chief Askia Ogieh, Chairman, Isoko South Local Government Council and Barrister Ekerekosu, Special Adviser to the Governor on Oil and Gas, who were government representatives at the said meeting in DPR’s head office in Lagos, leave much to desired and is a negation of the initial agreement.

“Before we granted the five-day grace, the local government Chairman, Chief Askia Ogieh, and the Special Adviser to the Governor, Barrister David Ekerekosu, both stood as guarantors that the situation of the well was hazardous.

“So they begged that they should be given five days as a window for Agip to shut down so as to secure the well and control it to avoid a blow-out which may lead to loss of lives and properties.

“We obliged them their request. But to our own surprise, at the expiration of the five days, when we drew the attention of the local government chairman, he said, ‘well, for the fact that it was weekend, we should allow the people till Monday, 12 April’.

“Up till today, nothing has been done, whereas Nigeria Agip Oil Company, in an attempt to prepare for any eventuality, has beefed up security in the oil station with the provision of submachine gun and an increase in military personnel.

“This now make us to suspect that Agip, being a rich oil company, probably has used its wherewithal to influence the powers that be against the wishes and agitation of the host community and landlord families.

“For now, I want to believe that it is proper and safer for me to commit the issue into the hands of God.

“But one thing I will have to say is, if anybody is having a double dealing with Agip, that the God that dealt with Ahitophel in the Bible in II Samuel 17, the God that dealt with Pharaoh and Goliath, that same God will deal with the person.”


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