Nigeria’s daily crude oil output yesterday decreased by about 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) valued at about N2billion. This follows the shut down of Erhoike flow station in Ethoipe East Government Area of Delta State by members of Orogun oil producing communities.
The shutdown of the oil facility is coming after weeks of ultimatum issued to the operator of the flow station, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), by the communities.
Leaders of the protesting communities vowed to sustain the face off till the oil firm decided to address their grievances.
Speaking yesterday, the leader of all the oil producing communities in Orogun, Morris Ochuko Idiovwha, Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC), Chief Banet Abafe, Women Leader, Mrs. Mary Umufo, as well as Chief Jettson Efetobor, cited neglect in the provision of basic social amenities, marginalisation in employment and many others as justifications for the protest.
Reacting to the protest, NPDC dismissed it as blackmail, arguing that it was the communities that failed to submit a list of projects they want done when they were requested to do so. He however added that a meeting to settle the matter had already been arranged, wondering why the communities had to resort to shutting the facility.
Its Manager (External Relations Department),Ugo Atugbokoh, said the protest was in bad taste and done only to get the bad report out through the media.
According to him, when the NPDC reached out to the communities to submit their list of requests so they could be treated along with other host communities of the other eight flow stations, the Orogun/Kokori communities foot-dragged, resulting in their request coming in too late.
“Orogun and Kokori people are just one flow station out of about nine or eight of them in OML 30. When we moved in in January last year we went round all the communities, asking them to give us a list of their projects, some of them sent in their projects like Uzere, so many of them. We have completed so many, some are at advanced stages. Orogun and Kokori didn’t send us their list early. When we eventually got their list to send us contractors to bid for the job was another long journey. The long and short of it is that their request came in very late, management has approved projects for them.
“One of the things they requested was road, we have been to them, even as at last week Tuesday to let us go and inspect this road to update our report about the road and come up with the detailed BOQ, they refused. Apparently they had this mind to demonstrate and call the press. The Commanding Officer for 222 Battalion invited all of us to a meeting in his office next Wednesday (tomorrow). There is no need for this demonstration,” Atugbokoh explained.
But according to the leader of the protesting communities, Morris Idiovwha, the action of the people would result in the shortage of the country’s crude oil output up to 44,880 bpd, estimated at about N1.8 billion.
“This Kokori/Orogun flow station has over 42 oil wells. Recently NPDC made a publication saying that this flow station is the second highest producing flow station in the whole of Delta Central, in the whole of OML 30. In spite of this, the communities are extremely poor without any development. I can tell you that in the whole of Orogun, there is no medical centre. We are saying to NDPC and Shoreline Energy; If they don’t want to heed our demands, they should leave our land.
Curled from The Nation