By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—GOVERNOR Peter Obi of Anambra State, yesterday, slammed claims by some communities in Enugu and Kogi states on the oil deposits around the newly-commissioned Orient Petroleum in Aguleri Layout, Anambra East Local Government Area, for waiting for Anambra to commission the oil facility before making their claims.
In a broadcast in Awka, the governor noted that none of the people making claims invested any money in the petroleum company, even as it took many years to materialise.
Obi said: “It is pertinent to recall that Orient Petroleum Resources Plc was formed during the government of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju in 2001 and allocated oil fields domiciled in Anambra State.
“The Board is peopled by prominent Nigerians of Anambra extraction such as Chief Emeka Anyaoku (Chairman); Dr. Alex Ekwueme (Vice-Chairman), and Chief Arthur Mbanefo, among others. Its management is led by Engr. Emeka Nwawka.
“Though Dr. Mbadinuju did not make any direct monetary contribution, under Dr. Chris Ngige (2003-2006), Anambra State government invested N100 million in the project.
“Under our government (between 2006-2009), Anambra State, with the vision and belief in the positive impact of the project on the economy of the state and country, invested, directly and indirectly, N4.4 billion, which bolstered the confidence of other investors in the venture that made its commissioning a reality.
“Whilst my predecessors never visited the site, I personally laid the foundation of the refinery. I have also visited the site several times since 2006 without any group or state interfering in its ownership as is now the case following the announcement of drilling of oil there.
“It is also pertinent to note that till date, neither the group nor the states laying claim to the oil field have, directly or indirectly, invested a kobo in the project, while Anambra State and her people have invested several billions.
“Let me at this juncture state that Anambra State believes in good neighbourliness and will, in conformity with our nature, always admire and celebrate other states which may become producers of oil or any other mineral resource in the future.
“However, we believe that people’s hard work, sacrifices and investment should be allowed to match their opportunities.
“Anambra will remain a good neigbour and will continue to pray for oil to be discovered in other states so that Nigeria will emerge an economic giant in the comity of nations.”