By Gab Ejuwa
The people of Abigborodo community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State have said the refusal of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to recognise them as host community under the Gbetiokun Oil Exploration Field was a breach of the Local Content Act.
In a statement by the community’s Chairman, Monday Agbeyi; Secretary, Godfrey Ogbemi and Legal Adviser, Shedrack Demaki, the people said NPDC was fanning embers of disunity and crisis among the oil-producing communities in the area.
The community lamented that despite the continuous call on the management of NPDC to recognise them as host community, the company has continued to trespassed, deforest and exploit their land.
They explained that the land in question, which is hosting the Gbetiokun Oil Exploration Field operated and serviced by NPDC through Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, is called Orokeland and belongs to the people of Abigborodo community.
According to them, “court judgments between Abigborodo and Ureju community over the said land at the High Court in Sapele in 1973; Appeal Court, Benin in 1988, and Supreme Court in 1991 were delivered in favour of Abigborodo community.
“It is, therefore, disheartening that NPDC, having been furnished with all these information, has refused to recognise the Abigborodo as host community in line with the Local Content Act, rather NPDC is recognising Ureju as the owners of the said land.”