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Aggrieved Rivers oil community seeks to join Bayelsa State

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Spokesman of the community, Chief Ibiosiya Nath-Sukubo


Offoin-ama Community in Akuku-Toru Council of Rivers State is seeking to be part of Bayelsa State following what it described as overbearing intervention by the Rivers government over the OML 25 oil field saga.

It is among the three host communities of the OML 25 that staged a peaceful protest against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)’s re-entry into the oil platform.Spokesman of the community, Chief Ibiosiya Nath-Sukubo, stated yesterday that the people were considering Bayelsa State because “they no longer feel safe” in Rivers.

He said: “We, the (people of) Offoin-Ama Community in Kula Kingdom of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, are dismayed by the constant threat by the Rivers State government, SPDC and their collaborators to gain forceful entry into OML 25. But we should note without equivocation that the dialectics of reconciling two conflicting ideas is the algebra of revolution.”

Shell and some members of the community had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last week following an intervention by the state government to resume oil productions in the area.Shell’s General Manager (External Relations), Igo Weli, recently lamented that the nation had lost $700 billion since the oil field was shut down two years ago, and promised that the Dutch oil firm would take care of all the demands of the communities and pay arrears.

However, Nath-Sukubo lamented that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) hoodwinked some of their chiefs to sign the MOU, which, according to him, is shrouded in mystery.“The overbearing intervention of the Rivers State government had further exacerbated acrimony and chaos in the community

“It is of worthy significant that our communities, via the Santababara towards Soku to the estuaries of the Atlantic Ocean, are technically under Bayelsa State from the Goodluck Jonathan administration, of which Rotimi Amaechi as governor took the federal government to court. The case is pending at the Supreme Court. So we and OML 25 are technically in Bayelsa State, amounting to a malapropism of adjudication by the Rivers government which could lead to contempt of court.

“Your Excellency, Chief Nyesom Wike, we would like to remind you that you championed the cause for Jonathan to take us to Bayelsa, when you served in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as Minister of State for Education. We are now considering Bayelsa because we are no longer feel safe in Rivers.

“The people live in the benzene component of the crude oil without any form of remediation and plight alleviation,” he stated. Nath-Sukubo stated that their peaceful protest against Shell’s move to re-enter the platform had not caused any breakdown of law and order. “The federal government is on the matter and the process ongoing with the presidency, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).” He alleged that the attack on the community might have been that it voted for President Muhammadu Buhari and its son, Biokpomabo Awara of the African Action Congress (AAC).

The spokesman, however, reiterated the community’s demands: that a major road project from Degema to Kula and adjoining communities be constructed by a reputable contractor like Julius Berger; that the right of first refusal be given to the host communities on the divestment of OML 25 or the operational right of the oil field be given to their choice indigenous company.“All monies owed the community should be paid and Governor Nyesom Wike should offer the olive branch to the community,” he added.

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Ibiosiya Nath-Sukubo
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