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Isoko’s Oily Mess

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IMAGE: Diezani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources »


The residents of Isoko in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State are at loggerheads with the federal government over what they consider injustice in the award of an oil surveillance contract and oil drilling in their community, writes Victor Efeizemor

Few years ago, Nigeria was a hotbed of violence militancy. Campaigning for an equal share in the resources of their homeland, organized youths from the Niger-Delta region fanned out and inflicted diverse atrocities: breaking pipelines, stealing crude oil, kidnapping oil workers and even launching attacks on oil companies’ facilities. Their reasons were simple: ‘this is our land, and if anyone is taking oil from it, it has to be on our own terms’.

It became an international spectacle. News media around the globe followed the unraveling developments in the region with minute detail. And with the lives of foreign expatriates, continual destruction of infrastructure and the consequent decline of oil production capacity, the Nigerian government was in a dilemma on how to combat the growing menace. Military might was explored, but proved largely ineffective since the militants were tucked inside the civil population.

In 2009 Amnesty was offered to the Militants by the Yar’Adua led Federal Government. There was skepticism on whether the process was going to be a success, but majority of the militants came forward, dropped their arms, and accepted to be drafted into the program. Since, the oil-rich region has known relative peace. Guns have been dropped, and violence has become a thing of the past, quite. However, fresh news emanating from the region threatens to bring up the horrors of the recent past.

A group known as Indigenous/ Landlords Association based in Isoko land in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State has given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to redress the injustice over what they termed “Illegal award of oil surveillance contract/ oil mining (OML 30).”

In a petition sent to the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the group alleges that without due consultation with their traditional institutions, chiefs, youths and opinion leaders in Isoko Kingdom, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Shoreline National Resources limited and Heritage Oil, unilaterally awarded oil mining lease surveillance contract to several contractors who don’t care about the plight of the people.

In the petition, copies of which were sent to the  Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Governor of Delta State, and other stakeholders. The group said more than one year after awarding this contract, there is no iota of evidence on ground to show that the contractors are working in the entire Isoko land. According to the group, “what we have noticed is that the Isoko Local Vigilante Group led by Hon. Victor Egbo, who is the co-ordinator as well as the state co-ordinator, is the ones securing the oil pipeline as well as gathering intelligence, while those who got the pipeline surveillance contracts are just taking the money without doing anything.”

The group also alleged that in spite of these, they have not received any commendation or recommendation for employment from these contractors, a situation that is a total disregard for the Nigeria Local Content Act, 2011. This, they said, amounts to “Baboon dey work, monkey dey chop” and in their opinion, “no reasonable man in this 21st century will permit such injustice.”

Quoting copiously from an extract by John Ralw, the group said: “Justice is the distribution of the advantages and the disadvantages of the society equally among its members.” Going by this, they said, “it is right for us to also share the advantage of the society and not only the disadvantage that oil explorations has brought to our people.”

The group further said that in order to address the inherent injustice, the Isoko Development Union, IDU, the apex decision making body in Isoko Land, led by its President, Major Gen. Paul Ofuoma Omu, (RTD), scheduled a meeting between the Isoko people, Shoreline Natural Resources (ltd), the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and Heritage Oil for March 5, 2014. According to them, though due notice of the meeting was given, none of the representatives of the companies showed up at the meeting. As a result of this, they said, another stakeholders’ meeting was slated for April 29, 2014 at the Isoko South Local Government Area Secretariat.

In attendance at that meeting were Hon. Idele Goodluck, traditional rulers from Oleh, Uzere, Ewhe, Emede, Emevor, Ozoro and all opinion leaders in Isoko land. The meeting was also attended by the Isoko Development Union led by its President, Major Gen Paul Ofuoma Omu (rtd), representative of the Nigeria police force, members of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps and representatives of Shoreline Natural Resources, the Nigerian Development Petroleum Company (NDPC) and Heritage Nig (ltd). At the meeting, the group said, the IDU President Major Gen Paul Ofuoma Omu (rtd) OFR, made known the collective resolve of the Isoko people that the oil surveillance contract should be re-awarded to accommodate the interest of the entire Isoko people. According to the group, after about four hours deliberations, Shoreline Natural Resources, Heritage Oil and the NPDC promised to look into their demand, but up till today, the companies have refused to keep their promise.

Consequently, the group said, since Shoreline Natural Resources, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company and Heritage Oil Nig (Ltd), have chosen to walk the path of injustice against the collective interest of the people, they have “resolved from now onward, that there shall be no peace until this ugly injustice is addressed.” The group has therefore, given a 21 days ultimatum, starting from September 1, 2014 till September 22, 2014 within which the Companies involved should address the anomaly, failure which all oil wells connected to OML 30 in Isoko Land will cease to flow.

The OML 30 (Oil Mining Lease) covers the largest ever upstream asset in Sub-Sahara Africa. The block is the second largest as well as the third largest on-shore Block with a lease covering 109 square kilometers which comprises of the following communities in Isoko Kingdom of Delta State: Oleh 21 Oil wells, Olomoro 17 Oil wells, Emede 4 Oil wells, Uzere more than 12 functional wells, Owhe 9 Oil wells, Igbide 8 Oil wells, Okpolo-Enwhe 6 Oil wells, Ozoro 7 Oil wells, Ellu/Ovrode 10 Oil wells, Ofagbe 4 Oil wells, Isoko Deep.

Currently, the block has eight producing fields of 395, 000 bpd, with an existing 850 bpd of pipeline segment to Forcados Export terminal. Its current gross production is 45, 000 bpd: it has over two hundred wells drilled with one hundred and twenty in production. The Block associated gas facilities can handle forth two MSCF/ day collected from 6 flowing stations. Its proven reserve includes 3 of 2 bb/s of crude oil and 2:5TCF of gas is a long asset with 8 years life reserved at production rate.

Presently 45 per cent equity formerly owned by 10cs is now jointly owned by Heritage Oil owned by a Briton Buckingham and Paul Atterton who are suspected to be fronting for a major Northern Nigeria Oil baron and Shoreline Natural Resources Limited owned by an indigene of Kwara State also suspected to be fronting for people from the southwest of the country.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Isoko     Delta State     Nigeria     Yar’Adua     NPDC     Dr Goodluck Jonathan     Diezani Allison-Madueke     John Ralw     Major Gen. Paul Ofuoma Omu