… as 48hrs ultimatum heightens tension
Nigeria’s oil production will drop drastically if indigenous people of Ugboegungu, Ugborodo, and Deghele in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, go ahead with plans to shut down the Otumara Flow Station operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
BIGPEN NIGERIA (https://bigpenngr.com) reports that this is coming as the communities on Thursday staged another peaceful protest over their non-inclusion in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) slamming the oil firm additional 48hours ultimatum, effective Wednesday August 23, to accede to their demand, following the expiration of a 30-day ultimatum earlier handed down to the company.
Otumara Flow Station, operated by Shell is said to be the largest in Delta State and count for over 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The aggrieved protesters, who have been on the SPDC facilities since Wednesday, claimed that the Dutch company have been playing ‘hide and seek’ game since they demanded for the recognition and inclusion of Otumara Host Community Development Trust in the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The protesters who hail from Ugboegungu, Ugborodo, and Deghele communities, which are joint hosts to the SPDC Otumara Flow Station, said they have jointly adopted the Otumara Host Community Development Trust for the implementation of the PIA but the oil firm had blatantly refused to recognise them.
The protesters who stormed the houseboat of the oil firm in their hundreds, were armed with placards and banners with inscription such as “We want the Petroleum Industry Act to be given to us” and “On Otumarah Host Community we stand,” among others.
Addressing journalists in continuation of the occupation and protest on Thursday, one of the leaders in the Ugborodo Community, Comrade Alex Eyengho, said despite being handed a 30-day ultimatum that had expired, SPDC has been recalcitrant in interfacing with them as regards the PIA implementation.
“We gave a 30-day ultimatum to Shell Petroleum Development Company, which expired on the 21st of this month. Today is the ultimatum day, and Shell has refused to take advantage of the 30-day window we gave them by refusing to do the needful as it concerns the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
“This is Shell’s facility hosting three communities: Ugboegungu, Ugborodo, and Deghele communities. What you are seeing here is a protest, and it commenced yesterday.
“It is a peaceful protest against Shell over their refusal to implement the PIA for these three communities.
“If I must tell you, the facility that Shell is operating in Otumara is the largest in Delta State. If we decide to shut down this facility today, Shell and Nigeria will be losing 20,000 barrels of oil per day, but we have not taken that route, and we have been very patient with Shell.
“As it concerns this Otumara Community, we are saying that they should create our own host community to be named Otumara Host Community Development Trust that will be hosted by the three communities.
“We are not against any other host communities elsewhere. We do not want to be under any host community, be it the host community of Warri Kingdom,
“We are saying that we are the host communities. If there is any form of oil spillage or environmental degradation, it is not going to affect those in Warri South Local Government or the others who are on the upland. It is going to affect Ugborodo and the other communities, primarily.
“This is in tandem with the extant laws of the PIA, and we are not asking for anything. I think Shell should be happy that each of the three communities has come together to demand the PIA as a joint community and not as individuals,” he averred.
Other leaders from Ugborodo, Ugboegungun and Deghele communities, Messrs Churchill Omadeli, Oludemi Edema and Anthony Mene Bojoh, in separate interviews, agreed with the position of Mr. Eyengho.
Omadeli, who’s the Chairman, Council of Chiefs, Ugborodo Community, urged SPDC to respect its host communities by coming “to Ugborodo Community and discussing our matter with us without going anywhere.”
Mr Bojoh, who’s the vice chairman of the Deghele National Youth Council, on his part accused the SPDC of playing hide and seek, warning that “the protest will continue indefinitely until that demand is met.”
Edoema, a National Vice Chairman of one of the communities, handed SPDC three hours (which have since expired), warning that “if Shell is not here, we are going to shut everything down.”
Mr. Churchill Omadeli, who is a member of Ugborodo Council of Chiefs, called on SPDC to respect its host communities, by coming to dialogue with them, saying failure to do so, will mean continued occupation of the company’s facility.
The Eghare-Aja of Ugborodo Federated Communities, Eghare-Daniel Uwawah and Mr. Isaac Botosan, as well as Chief Ayirimi Emami among other leaders
were on ground to ensure the protest was peaceful even as armed military soldiers manned the facilities but none of the officials of the SPDC were available to address the protesters or speak with journalists throughout the protest.