THE people of Ugbevwe community in Idjerhe (Jesse) kingdom, Ethiope-West Local Government Area of Delta State have called on the governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to prevail on SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company, to site a flow station in the Okporhurhu oil fields in Ugbevwe community or anywhere in Idjerhe clan to avert possible breakdown of law and order.
In a letter, dated October 19, 2012, signed by the chair of the community, Hon. Atima Anthony, secretary, Mr. Esegbona O. Francis and three others, addressed to the governor, they warned that the clandestine plan to tap Okporhurhu oil well and other appraised oil wells in Ugbevwe community to Oben Flow Station in Edo state would ignite trouble.
They said Ugbevwe community is an oil producing community in Idjerhe clan in Delta State, with Okporhurhu Oil Well 1 and other oil wells that have been appraised by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and later by SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Limited, and wondered why SEPLAT wants to short-change the community.
Besides the oil wells in Ugbevwe community, they said there many others in Okunigho, Irhodo,. Boboroku, Idjedaka, Onyobru, Ovade, Ekroda and Orhomudia, all in Idjerhe clan, adding that when SEPLAT took over SPDC’s operations in Ugbevwe community, it was told in unambiguous language by the communities to build a flow station in Okporhurhu oil fields in Ugbevwe in Idjerhe clan so as to benefit the entire Idjerhe clan in particular, and Delta State in general.
“However, SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Limited has insisted that it will tap the oil from Okporhurhu oil fields to Oben Flow Station in Edo State, thereby ,denying the indigenes of Ugbevwe Community and Idjerhe clan as a whole of the benefits of the establishment of a flow station, under the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Development Contents Act,” the community said.
It continued, “As a result of the stance of SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Limited, the traditional ruler of Idjerhe clan, HRH Erhiekevwe 1, Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, constituted an ad -hoc committee, headed by a seasoned engineer and retired management staff of SPDC, Engr. Isaac Okpako Ayenor, to look into the possibility of establishing an oil flow station in Idjerhe clan. The committee after wide consultation and several meetings submitted its report on 23rd June, 2012 and the said report was accepted by the whole kingdom in a town hall meeting.”
They said from the committee’s report, the entire clan was insisting on a flow station be built in Okporhurhu oil fields in Ugbevwe community, Idjerhe clan.
They said that when SEPLAT discovered that it would not have its way in its bid to lap the oil to Oben flow station, it purportedly connived with some persons within the Idjerhe clan for the purpose of tapping the oil to Oben Flow Station in Edo state, contrary to the consensus that was reached by the whole clan.
The community further alleged that the company had commenced the cutting of survey lines from Okporhurhu appraisal wells and the other oil wells to Oben flow station without recourse to the host community.
“No crops have been assessed or paid for by the company. The company has equally not signed any Global Memorandum of Understanding with the community, as part of its social responsibility to the community. The company now enters the farmlands of the community, clear and damage crops at random without regard to the well-being of the owners”, they said.
They said the people were apprehensive that if the Delta state government fails to intervene , with a view to prevailing on SEPLAT to site a flow station in the Okporhurhu oil fields in Ugbevwe community, or anywhere in Idjerhe clan, the company would continue to come into the community to destroy crops without first negotiating with the community through its accredited representatives.
They warned that there might be breakdown of law and order in the community and its environs, adding it was against the backdrop of the above that they were passionately appealing to the governor to use his good offices to come to the aid of the clan so as to prevent breakdown of law and order.