Leave Our Area Immediately, Ijaw Community Orders Oil Firm

223 views | Akanimo Sampson | November 16, 2020

Opu-Nembe, a Nembe-Bassambiri community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has ordered Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Limited, to leave the Ijaw community immediately.

The aggrieved community is accusing the company of economic strangulation, ecological destruction, contract racketeering and corporate wickedness.

Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Limited operates as an integrated energy company. The Company focuses on exploration, production, bulk storage, refining, supply, and marketing of petroleum products, as well as offers power generation and distribution services. Aiteo serves customers worldwide.

Traditional Rulers and chiefs of Opu-Nembe say their choice of dressing (all black) was a symbolic way to announce the death and final burial of the company in the community.

Chairman of the Council of Chiefs, Chief Oriango Oruwari, who addressed newsmen, ordered the company to quit the community effective from Saturday, pointing out, “Aiteo is no longer welcome afterwards.”

He described as incompetent the manner at which the company was going about oil exploration in the area, saying it has resulted in several oil spills the kingdom, some of which he said are now receiving attention from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) following petitions from its lawyers.

The community regretted that the oil spills remained uncleared and unremediated over a year after the incident.

“At this rate, the mere remnants of our ecological resources and natural livelihoods may completely vanish during the remaining two and half years of President Mohammandu Buhari’s tenure in office, all thanks to Aiteo”, the community says..

Consequently, it asked the federal authorities not to renew the operational license of OML 29 held by Aiteo which it claimed expired June 30, 2019, alleging that the license was secretly renewed by the then Minister Ibe Kachikwu.

“That the Federal Government-owned Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) should take over the operations of OML 29, pending when a new, competent and community-friendly operator takes over.

“That any purported renewal of the lease after 30th June, 2019, when the present lease expired is invalid and as such Aiteo became a trespasser and persona non grata in Opu Nembe domain and will therefore not be accorded any social license to operate going forward”, he said

A retired Permanent Secretary, Chief Boumonyo Amakiri Duo, who also spoke, described the event as a big day for the community. “Today is a very big day for the people of Opu Nembe, as you can see all of us wearing black which depicts that something serious has happened and what has happened is to announce to you the death and burial of Aiteo in Opu Nembe land.

“Anytime you see the Nembe people wear black dung, we have lost a rare gem, we have lost somebody, today is to announce to the world that Aiteo is dead and buried in Opu Nembe land, because of their irregularities because of their fraudulent practices, we are tired and we are no longer in this marriage.”.

Spokesperson for the company who craved anonymity, however, said Aiteo was working on a response to the issues raised by the community.


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