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Otuaro secures truce in Ogulagha-Odimodi/SPDC rift

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*Tasks Oil Coys to Respect MoUs

Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro

By Etop Ekanem

Deputy Governor of Delta State, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, has secured agreement to shelve planned shutdown of Forcados South Bank flow station by Ogulagha and Odimodi communities who took turns to say “we are happy with the intervention of the Deputy Governor, Otuaro.”

The communities had handed down a 14-day ultimatum to a worried Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) for downsizing operations reportedly due to the coronavirus-affected economy. But the communities claimed “the sacks were targeted at us. In fact, showed pattern promoting the company’s deliberate policy of undermining the locals.”

Speaking after closed-door meeting to newsmen, Otuaro, flanked by Delta State Oil and Gas Commissioner, Chief Emmanuel Amgbaduba and leaders of the communities, stated: “We got news of disturbing issues threatening the peace around operations at the multi-billion dollar Forcados Terminal Oil concerns.

As a government, we deemed it fit to call the leaders of the communities to hear them out, forge reconciliation and unity between them and take up issues raised subsequently with SPDC and other oil companies.

“Let me emphasize that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led Delta State administration is a people-oriented government, which places high premium on peace. Conflicts are bound to occasionally arise in human relations but the Delta State Government has put in place several institutional frameworks on peace, which people should leverage on. We agreed in the meeting to maintain peace in the Forcados oil area”, Otuaro said.

“We advise oil companies and their servicing counterparts to strictly adhere to terms of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) reached with communities. This is one area that has caused problems. Oil companies should do more in the area of corporate social responsibility to forestall chaos.”

The Oil and Gas Commissioner had earlier commended Ogulagha and Odimodi communities “for the peace maintained so far,” while tasking them to keep same.

Messrs Johnbull Ogobiri and James Yangaboy, Chairmen of Ogulagha and Odimodi communities respectively, who also spoke to newsmen, said: “We are happy with the deputy governor’s intervention over our issues with SPDC.”

Also, other leaders of Ogulagha and Odimodi, namely Messrs Bright Guwor and Harrison Angeyamah both said: “We have confidence in the deputy governor. We had given 14-day ultimatum to close down Forcados South Bank flow station. Due to the Deputy Governor’s intervention and counsel. He sought reasonable space to take up issues with appropriate authorities. We will wait.”

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