The Umusadege –Ogbe Community of Ndokwaland, Delta state has called on the Presidency to prevail on Nigeria’s Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and all defaulting oil and gas companies operating in the area to immediately pay up outstanding compensations and penalties for non-renewal of Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, to guarantee them smooth business operations.
This was contained in a petition signed by Chief Augustine Opia to President Muhammadu Buhari and submitted through Senator Itta Enang, Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the President on Niger Delta Affairs.
Recall that ANI OSA NDOKWA had in a special supplement published on the Vanguard Newspaper of Monday, August 10, 2020, listed the “severe sufferings” of Ndokwa nation, which include:
The difficult and provocative situation of NAOC has made our people restive, with situation tense and which may force the youth to shut down the operations of oil companies in our domains.”
Chief Opia group urged Presidency to save them from the high handedness of NAOC by urging them to promptly engage with the community to develop, produce and sign a mutually beneficial Memorandum of Agreement and Understanding between the two parties on which the stream of peace and tranquility will flow unabated.
According to the petition, Umusadege Group also wants NAOC to pay without delay, the long accrued compensatory benefits, including project funds and unpaid 42-year-old land rents to Umusadege-Ogbe community being the host community to the tune of $211,483,713.68 allegedly covering land rent and remunerations due to Umusadege –Ogbe in the 42 years of NAOC operations in the land, which has been defiantly ignored by the companies, a development they noted, was brewing serious conflict that may explode if badly managed.
The community wants the companies to amongst other things: Provide adequate employment to our qualified youth population as prescribed under the local content law of the land; award contract to deserving and qualified citizens and companies of Ndokwa extraction and restore all the seven-year-old contracts and employment deficit for the benefits of qualified Umusadege – Ogbe natives.”
In their submission, “The President may wish to issue a subpoena or convene a roundtable meeting between both parties (Umusadge-be and NAOC) to be superintended by Government as a way to having a lasting solution to the problems” Chief Opia stated, adding: “The roundtable should be held early to avert any ugly consequence of the further delay in the resolution of the problems; this will be the last attempt by the leaders of Ndokwa nation to seek dialogue with appropriate authorities, we urge the federal government to direct those provoking people to desist from opening another theater of conflict.” The petition reads in part.
Pointedly, Chief Opia group noted that the oil and gas operating companies like Agip OML 60 amongst others, cheat the clans in undermining the MoUs in the non-payment of ground rents.