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Rivers landowners want oil firm’s occupancy certificate revoked

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
11 January 2022   |   4:13 am
Owners of the land being used by Greenville Oil and Gas Company in Rumuji community in Emohua council of Rivers State have urged the state government to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued to the company.

Owners of the land being used by Greenville Oil and Gas Company in Rumuji community in Emohua council of Rivers State have urged the state government to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued to the company.

They faulted the acquisition of the land by the company, saying it was acquired without the consent of landowners. The landowners, in a protest in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said they only leased the land for 30 years and did not sell it to the company.

Mr. Joseph Wori, who read the position of Greenville landlords, disclosed that they were surprised that the company had gone ahead to acquire a C of O without their consent.

He called on Rivers State Government to investigate the activities of the company and immediately revoke the certificate in the interest of peace and justice.

He said: “Greenville Oil and Gas Company came to Rumuji community in 2015 and approached the landowners for the building of their operational base. The landowners leased their land for 30 years wherein they entered into lease agreement.

“To the greatest surprise of the landowners, the company, whom we leased our ancestral land for 30 years, went ahead to acquire Certification of Occupancy for 99 years without the consent and approval of the landowners.

Two of the landlords, Okanizi Nnamdi and Chikordi Ojims, alleged that the company failed to implement all the memorandum of understanding reached in the lease agreement, including employment and provision of electricity for the host community.

He said: “In the course of the lease agreement there were several understanding reached between landowners’ family and Greenville Oil and Gas Limited. One is the provision of constant power supply to Rumuji community. The employment of members of landowning families and the payment of one per cent of interest that is made annually is breached.”

“They have never fulfilled any of it, instead there is a policy in the company marginalising staff of Greenville from Rumuji. This is considered unfair and should be stopped forthwith.

Meanwhile, the General Manager of Greenville, Joseph Oyinde, when contacted by The Guardian via text message, said he was at the head office in Abuja, and declined comment on the matter.