By Davies Iheamnachor
The people of Aggah community, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State and Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, are at daggers drawn over modalities for implementation of a contract to halt the raging flood that submerges the locality annually, in the last 40 years.
NDV learned that officials of company and community leaders were sharply disagreed on contract documents and credentials of contractors engaged by the oil multinational, whose facilities located on the waterways, triggered the flooding.
Community sources claimed that NAOC on the resumption of oil exploration in the area around 1950s built its facilities on waterways through which water from the community empties into the Oloshi River, creating a catastrophe that has lasted over four decades.
A community group, Egbema Voice of Freedom, EVF, had in 2017 petitioned Eni, the parent company of Agip in Italy, and upon foreign arbitration, Agip was ordered to resolve the situation in Aggah.
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Agip assures on project implementation
However, at a meeting between the community, EVF, and Agip to commence the project implementation, Agip told the community that it had arranged with a contractor within the company to resume work.
Addressing the meeting, an official from the Community Relations Department, Agip, MaCqueen Jetubo, who led the delegation to Aggah, indicated that the community contract documents would not be made public.
He said: “The contract we are bringing to you has been tested and trusted. The contractor is one that has been doing good jobs for the company, we do not want complaints at the end.
“The contractor has good records, if you want to find out more about them, you can write the NNPC, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, they are NNPC certified.
“The contract has been awarded to them, they will come to start with first phase of the job. We have handed over all the contract documents to them.
“The documents are only for the contractor and not for the community, they have always delivered well in their projects.
“We are not taking this project with levity, NAOC takes this project with utmost seriousness.
“I know that you know that a contract with somebody is left for that person alone. Concerning contract document, that document is not something that can be shared with you, it is left for the contractor alone,” he asserted.
Jetubo said he was unaware that the contractor earlier sent to the community to survey the contract site had not paid youth that worked for him, promising to communicate the protest to the management team of Agip.
Let us see, evaluate contract documents — EVF
On the other hand, the leader of Egbema Voice of Freedom, EVF, Mr. Evaristus Nicholas, the contract paper was not a clandestine document, so Agip should make them accessible to the community for careful appraisal by the people before commencing work.
“I want to state that what Agip will carry out in this community are in two phases. The first phase is what has been awarded, that is the culverts and the construction of the drainage that will run to Oloshi River.
“When you (Agip) called us, we told you to introduce the contractor to Aggah and EVF. We need the credentials of the contractor to know their capability. We also want to see the contract documents. This document is not a secret document,” he added.
We don’t need ghost contractor — Eduge, youth leader
Meanwhile, youths of Aggah have warned NAOC against sending contractors that are not known to the people to carry out projects in their area.
The youth leader of the community, Obinna Eduge, stated: “We are disturbed that after Agip finished surveying the project sites, the contractor they used has not paid all the people that worked with them.”
“The contractor is unknown to us, they came here and used us to do their work and left. In this one, we do not need a ghost contractor that we do not know, so that they will not work and owe us for more than a year now.”