By Paul Olayemi
Three communities in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, Beresibe, Eghoro, and Ureju have faulted a publication from Fifteen riverine communities in Egbema Kingdom threatening to shut down operations at the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 40 in Gbetiokun oil field over non-recognition of their communities by the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)/ELCREST Joint Venture.
In a page 12, Vanguard publication dated 12th of October, 2020, and an online publication by Chief Kari Ebipade, who alleged ownership of Gbetiokun field belonging to Ogbinbiri on Gbaramatu voice, dated 10th October, 2020, the 15 coastal communities which include Asisabobutie, Ubebrakui, Agbuwagha, Erekoughan, Okofagbene, Ojudougbene, Idebanegbene, Ologbamkan, Azama, Oyangbene, Adagbrasa, Asantuwagbene, Oborogbene, and Emelebiri were reported to have protested alleged injustice making a case for them to be recognised as host communities and also handing out ultimatum to the company.
However in a statement issued on Wednesday 14th of October, 2020 and signed by Sunday Etchie, and Duakpemi Kanu, the youth presidents of Beresibe, and Eghoro communities, and Joseph Ureju, an indigene of Ureju community, they claim the 15 ijaw communities have no stake in the Gbetiokun oil field.
The statement read “The world should note that the Ogbeti-Okun oil field that the fifteen coastal communities are laying claim to, has three stakeholders, the Beresibe, Eghoro, and Ureju communities, the people protesting are customary tenants to Ureju community by supreme Court judgement, they are not part of Ogbeti-Okun community neither Ogbeti-Okun field.
“It is obvious that the said protesting fifteen communities has deliberately done this to test our perseverance, Ogbobiri is over 300 kilometers away from the oil field, not for once have we disrupted oil field located in Opuama or where they own, we see no reason why they are beginning to disrupt ours, Where they are living as a camp today belong to Ureju and none of the communities have a stake in that area” they however called on the Delta State Governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa and the Federal Government to intervene urgently so as to prevent breakdown of law and order.