By VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA—THE people of Aguleri, hosts to Orient Petroleum Resources Plc, commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan during his recent visit to Anambra State, insisted, yesterday, that the oil deposits in their land was not in contention, noting that ongoing altercation over oil deposit in Anambra River Basin was due to what they described as confusion caused by armchair geographers.
At a meeting hosted by the traditional ruler of Aguleri, Igwe Christopher Idigo IV and attended by members of the Igwe’s cabinet, leaders of thought and youths of the area, Aguleri people, said that from the arguments since the oil facility was commissioned, it would appear that the people of Kogi and Enugu states laying claim to the oil wells did not know the location of the wells in question.
They noted that they would have allowed the three states of Anambra, Kogi and Enugu to sort out themselves since the boundaries of the three states were properly delineated, adding, however, that as people known for always standing for truth, honour and justice no matter the circumstances, they were confirming once and for all, the ownership of Anambra River oil wells in OPL 915 located in Aguleri Otu.
A statement by Igwe Idigo and six other prominent people in the community, said “Given the topography of the entire West Bank of Anambra River basin, which presently consists of Anambea West Local Government Area and Aguleri Otu in Anambra East Local Government Area, the lands were acquired by the government to establish the Anambra Forest Reserve in 1931.
“The boundary of the Forest Reserve is very clear and unambiguous. Whereas Enugu State communities of Igga, Ojor and Ogurugu are on the Eastern bank of Anambra River, the Anambra Forest Reserve is on the Western bank of the river. So, Anambra River has always been and is still the natural boundary between Enugu State communities and the forest reserve.
“The Igga community of Enugu State knows that it has no title to the Anambra Forest Reserve and so has no claim to the land. They came in 1967 and demanded compensation from SAFRAP Nigeria Limited, which ended in court and they lost out.
“Similarly in 1984, when Elf Nigeria Limited came for oil wells, the community quickly demanded compensation, but did not succeed. Now, Orient Petroleum has taken a bold step to commence operation, Igga community has come again and they will not succeed, having been stopped by a court of competent jurisdiction.”