Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community of Egbema kingdom in Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, has, on Wednesday, threatened to shutdown Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) operations in the area.
Tsekelewu community is a Host Community to the Opuama Flow Station within the Oil Mining Lease – OML 40, operated by NPDC.
GbaramatuVoice gathered that the threat came following the negative impact of the dredging of the main waterways on mobility and economic activities of the community.
However, in a communique issued at the end of a press conference in Warri, jointly signed by the President-General, Tsekelewu community, Engr. Bright Abulu, Revd. TD. Clement (JP), General Secretary, and Mr. Christmas Ukugha, Public Relation Officer, National Executive Council-Host Community to Opuama Flow-Station, it stated that, due to NPDC past and current dredging and oil & gas operations in the Opuama flow station and Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community axis and the refusal of the company to honor several invitations for a meeting with the community leadership on how to address the hazardous effects of its dredging and sweeping operations on the access waterways to Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community.
The communique reads: “It should be recalled that the leadership of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community National Executive Council (Host Community to Opuama Flow-Station) on the 9th of December, 2021 wrote to NPDC management requesting for a meeting to proffer solution on the negative impact of past and ongoing dredging activities on Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community and other sundry issues relating to its operations. This letter was acknowledged by the NPDC Managing Director’s office. However, no response came from the company and no reason was given.
“A reminder letter was written on December 24, 2021 and was acknowledged by same office on December 31, 2021, but again there was no response. A third letter was sent on January 5, 2022 and acknowledged on the 7th, in which the national security agencies and the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, were copied, calling for a meeting to hold on January 10, 2022.
“Regrettably, as we speak, there has been no response from the company. NPDC/Elcrest have refused/failed to honor Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community invitations to a meeting intended to proffer solutions to the negative impact of the dredging of the main waterways on mobility and economic activities of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community. Yet the dredging project is going on unabated to the extent that an oil well drilling rig has been moved into our territory to carry out extensive drilling operations.
“Consequent upon the inexplicable silence of the company, it has become imperative to call this press conference to alert the Management of NPDC, Delta State Government, Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Community of the danger our people are facing and the imminent physical blockade of the community waterways as a result of artificial siltation and drying up of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community waterways by NPDC/Elcrest past and ongoing dredging activities, which is about to cut us off from the rest of the world.
“As you all know, our transportation system is by waterways; and, now that we are practically grounded as a result of the operations of NPDC/Elcrest, we can no longer remain silent.
“As a peaceful and law-abiding people, we hereby demand for NPDC to respect the right of the community to exist and carry out its traditional and economic activities. Based on our aforementioned letters to NPDC management and increasing negative impact of the ongoing dredging on Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community, within seven (7) days of this press conference, the management of NPDC should invite the leadership of the Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community National Executive Council to a meeting to amicably resolve this issue. We believe that the company will appreciate this peaceful gesture by doing the needful without further delay.
“Distinguished gentlemen of the Press, we present a pictorial evidence for your perusal on the dangers that we currently face; and except the government intervenes and calls the company to order, we will no longer be able to access our community.
“The nation and international community is, therefore, put on notice by this press conference, that at the expiration of the seven day ultimatum on January 26, 2022 and the issues remain unresolved, we will be left with no other alternative but to shut down the NPDC/Elcrest operations within our God-given territory in OML 40,” the communique added.
By Enaibo Asiayei & Samuel Abai
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