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Six Oil companies at risk in Bayelsa community over leadership tussle

By Julius Osahon, Yenagoa
27 May 2023   |   1:30 am
There is rising tension in Bayelsa oil rich community, as a lingering leadership tussle is threatening to metamorphose into a community war that could disrupt the operations of six oil companies in the area.

• Monarchs Seek Governor’s Intervention

There is rising tension in Bayelsa oil rich community, as a lingering leadership tussle is threatening to metamorphose into a community war that could disrupt the operations of six oil companies in the area.

Information available to The Guardian indicated that the warring factions are getting ready their arsenals and might unleash them on one another anytime soon, if the government does not take an urgent step to stop it.

To this end, the monarchs of Koluama Clan in Southern Ijaw Local Council of Bayelsa State have called on the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, to intervene in the leadership tussle.

They urged the governor to move in quickly to avert casualties in the oil rich Tamazo, Middleton Autonomous Community, and avert a breakdown of law and order that could disrupt oil and gas operations in the area.

The monarchs accused a top governor’s aide in charge of chieftaincy and community matters of meddling into the dispute. Tamazo, a middletown community located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean, is host to several oil and gas production and servicing companies.

The Koluama Clan Council of Chiefs, in a letter to the state governor, faulted the recognition of one Diepreye Amadein by the state government for the Tamazo Fourth Class Stool, instead of Matthew Sylvanus, describing the development as the cause of discord in the community.

They urged Diri to invite both factions to a roundtable for an amicable resolution, noting that the intervention of the state governor would bring sanity and restore peace to the area.

The monarchs’ letter to the governor was signed by King Solomon Ebifatei Edi-Mangi (Kolu XI), Ibenanaowei of Koluama Kingdom, Chief Jonas D Kwomo-Okono II, Chairman Koluama Clan Chiefs Council, Chief Millionaire Kerimama, General Secretary Koluama Clan Council of Chiefs and others.

The letter read in part: “Your Excellency might be aware of a chieftaincy dispute in Tamazo, Middleton Community, a lingering matter, which necessitates our seeking audience, as it deserves government’s intervention. 

“The said chieftaincy dispute began on February 14, 2019, following government’s issuance of a Certificate of Recognition to one Mr. Diepreye Amadein, for the Tamazo Fourth Class Stool, with the backing of influence-peddlers, particularly the Technical Adviser on Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Douyi Douglas Naingba, interfering and intermeddling in the internal affairs of Tamazo Community, despite having a traditionally and lawfully recognised Paramount Rule (Amananawei), His Highness Sylvanus Matthew, duly elected in 1992, and has since then held sway as the Head and Custodian of the Community.

“The non-issuance of Certificate of Recognition by government to His Highness Sylvanus Matthew, who is the traditionally elected and recognised Amananawei, has thrown up acrimony and crisis in the community, since 2019. Sequel to the wrong status accorded to Mr. Diepreye Amadein, he has foisted himself on the community as its Paramount Ruler, and running a parallel Council of Chiefs, Community Development Committee (CDC), youth movement and women council.

“We, hereby, appeal to his Excellency to as a matter of concern withdraw the Certificate of Recognition issued wrongly to Diepreye Amadein and issue same to the rightful person, His Royal Highness Sylvanus Mathew as confirmed by the Ibenanawei and council.

“He is also presenting himself before traditional authorities, governments ministries /parastatals and other relevant agencies, as such, if left unchecked, we are apprehensive that the scenario could further plunge the once-peaceful Tamazo into avoidable full-scale crisis that could likely lead to unfathomable consequences on the law-abiding indigenes and properties in the community.

“The actions of the self-acclaimed Paramount Ruler, Diepreye Amadein and his sponsors do not only poses a security risk in Tamazo Community but the entire Koluama Clan that hosts several multi national oil and gas companies in the Atlantic Ocean.

“They include: Continental Oil and Gas Limited, Conoil , First Exploration Company Limited, First E@ P limited, Chevron Limited, Goland and Movido, Nigdel Oil Company Limited and Deep Sea Exxon Mobil Oil Company Limited.

“In the light of the above, we pray Your Excellency, the miracle and peace-loving governor of our dear state to graciously grant us an audience, wherein, we would give further details, and solicit for resolution of the dispute through your leadership prowess.

“We shall be sincerely pleased with Your Excellency’s magnanimous approval of our request for audience, on a day and time suitable to your schedule of executive activities, please.”