By Festus Ahon
ASABA—Indigenes of Ika and Aniocha nations numbering over 500, barricaded the entrance to the Delta State House of Assembly complex in protest against the alleged oil exploration in their area by Pan Ocean Oil Corporation and Chorus/Swift Energy Limited without signing a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the communities.
The placard-carrying protesters who stormed the Assembly complex at 11a.m., are seeking among others, the intervention of the state and Federal Governments in ensuring that the companies do the needful or have their licences revoked.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Mr. Julius Aziken, alleged that the companies had been operating in the areas without signing an MoU with the host communities and an Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, of the affected communities.
He said, “On January 4, 2014, we caught Pan Ocean Oil Company trucking our crude oil in two tankers and the case was incidented at the police station the next day. They said that it was a sample they wanted to use for analysis. The question I put before them then was that, if one is sick, does he need a litre of blood to run a test? Why would you take 33,000 litres of crude oil? They could not answer us.
“Last time, we were here to register our grievances that Ika and Aniocha should be integrated into the national grid, they said we didn’t have oil, that there was no quantum of oil in our place. If there is no quantum of oil in our place, where did Pan Ocean get the over 120 tankers they took from Ika and Aniocha?
“In the past nine months, they abandoned the project saying they didn’t have money. If they don’t have money then the Federal Government should revoke their licences and another company should be given license to come there.”