To forestall a breach of peace and possible disruption in oil production, Delta State Government has waded into the face-off between Heritage Oil Company and over 112 oil-bearing communities.
The affected communities had issued a 7-day ultimatum to Heritage Oil Company and its subsidiaries to vacate its territory or face the wrath of the people.
But the government has stepped in to calm frayed nerves, describing its intervention as a proactive step to avert the socio-economic hazard of a possible shutdown of over 90,000 barrel per day oil production in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30.
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr. Peter Mrakpor while addressing the delegation of the aggrieved community representatives, thanked them for not resorting to violence in driving home their demands.
He explained the process it took the state government to supervise the negotiation process which he said was transparent and painstaking, saying that the GMOU was the collective will of all the parties involved.
Mrakpor who expressed sadness over the development, however, assured them that government will urgently wade into the matter and it would be resolved as soon as possible to forestall breach of the peace in the state and disruption of oil production.
The commissioner appealed to them to maintain the peace and allow the state government to engage the company and bring all parties to a round table discussion.
President-General of Ewvreni community, Victor Ohare who doubles as the chairman of Presidents-General Forum of OML 30 during a meeting with the commissioner accused Heritage of breaching all the terms contained in the GMOU signed between the communities and the oil company.
Ohare also Accused Heritage Oil and its subsidiaries of using security agencies to intimidate, harass and suppress their genuine agitations.
He listed some of the sins of the company to include non-employment of indigenes and regular disengagements of the few already working in the employ of the company and non-payment of scholarship to indigenes of the affected area from 2014 till date.
Ohare also accused Heritage Oil of a systemic ploy to phase out its scholarship scheme and vowed to resist the oppressive tendencies of the company.
He alleged that Heritage Oil had failed 100 percent in implementing the terms of the GMOU which he said was painstakingly negotiated and personally supervised by the Attorney-General.
Ohare accused the company of awarding contracts including that of pipeline surveillance and other maintenance services to foreigners and their cronies, thereby totally neglecting the principle of local content which was part of the GMOU that was signed by the parties.
He said that all attempts to invite the company to a round table discussion to resolve the misunderstanding had been rebuffed by the company hence the ultimatum.
Oil Mining Lease 30 comprises 112 communities from Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko nations. The Sun