The peace and security agenda of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan may suffer set-back if urgent steps are not taken to address the prevalent conduct of Mid-Western Oil Company and assuage the grievances of Utagba-Ogbe host community in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The on-going protest by the Oil-Pipeline Landlords Association has entered its 5th day and could cause break down of law and order in the once peaceful and hospitable community as the people of Utagba-Ogbe community have urged the Mid-Western Oil Company not to engage in actions which will lead to crisis in the area.
Blank NEWS Online investigations revealed that that the Mid-Western Oil Company intends to lay pipelines across Utagba-Ogbe land without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report as well undermining the landlords due to the lackadaisical attitude of officials and management of the company.
According to dependable sources, management of the Mid-Western Oil Company has threatened to use armed soldiers to disperse the protesters and continue with excavations without following due process.
The landlords, while calling for the urgent intervention by the state government and concerned Nigerians, have therefore sought that the oil company should make their intentions clear to them as they will not allow excavations on their land until there is clear agreement on what the oil company intends to do.
According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Landlords Association, Comrade Andrew Inalu and the Secretary of the Association, Mr Emmanuel Enuma, the community alleged “harassment and intimidation by Mid-Western Oil Company limited”, saying that the activities of the oil exploration company could lead to break down of law and order unless there is urgent intervention by government and concerned Nigerians.
The statement which was made available to Blank NEWS Online alleged that the company wants to lay pipeline across their land without Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and has also failed to discuss with the landlords to know whether the land will be taken for free or that they will be entitled to payment of any kind.
“Activities of the oil company are a threat to the Peace and Security agenda of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration and we want them to be reasonable before their action will lead to unhealthy occurrences.
“Gone are the days where people live in the dark and as such, the oil company should make their intentions clear to the landlords as we will not allow any excavation on our land until there is clear agreement on what the oil company intends to do.
“Mid-Western Oil Company through their Community Relations Officers (names withheld) have threatened to use soldiers to disperse us, this is democracy and we wonder why they should forcefully take our land from us without first informing us if we should give it to them for free or the amount they are ready to pay”, the statement said.
The Oil-Pipeline Landlords Association further emphasised that what the oil company was doing could only lead to chaos which would make their operation in Utagba-Ogbe and Ndokwa West local government area in general impossible, emphasising, “this is democracy and we shall resist them until there is an agreement and formal presentation of the EIA”.
Efforts to speak to with the company’s representatives proved abortive as they repeatedly failed to pick their calls or reply to text messages but an insider source told Blank NEWS Online that the oil exploring company may have commenced arrangement to pacify the protesters. “You cannot harvest on a land without first clearing it”, the source said.