From Joseph Obukata, Warri
The chairman of chairmen of the 28 host communities in OML34, Delta State Hon. Michael Oghenegueke, has denied issuing any 5 day ultimatum to shut down the operations of ND-Western E&P Company and NNPC E&P Limited.
Multiple reports in conventional and online media have claimed that the host communities are up in arms against the oil company over what they claim is continued negligence, failure, and refusal to fulfil the mandatory obligations to the aggrieved host communities.
Oghenegueke who is also the executive chairman of Otu Jeremi Community in Delta state, condemned the publication, saying it does not have his approval and other host communities chairmen.
According to him, if there is any issue that needs attention, the company and the communities have a process of resolving it and not through pages of newspapers.
He added that management of NNPC E&P Limited and of ND-Western have been doing their best to sustain the cordial relationship that have existed with the communities.
Oghenegueke dismissed any claim of disagreement with the management of ND-Western E&P Company and NNPC E&P Limited, saying the publication was the handiwork of mischief makers and fifth columnists who want to cause disaffection between the host communities and the oil company.
In his response, the President General of Iwhrekan Community, Comrade Rufus Onokurefe, said that there was never a time when the host communities agreed to engaged the management of OML 34 in any media war.
He said that even when they have had to write letter to management over some issues of concern they had always opened a window of engagement and the issues resolved amicably.
Rufus Onokurefe asserted that neither they knew about the alleged letter nor did they give their consent for the publications in question.
Oghenegueke asserts that all host communities have been working in harmony with the company and sees no justification for starting a conflict with one that has demonstrated such high standards of responsibility in their interactions with the communities.
However, addressing issues raised in the publications, the chairmen and president generals of the 28 host communities in OML34, said that the management of ND-Western E&P Company and NNPC E&P Limited, have a more responsible way of dealing with issues with the host communities and have never failed to address host communities concerns.
“Even if we have any problems, there are more responsible ways to solve them than fabricating fictitious crises that don’t exist. since the company started operations in the host communities, it has upheld its corporate social responsibilities to the communities, including skill acquisition, scholarship awards, and the execution of the GMoU capacity building programme”. He added that those who have not benefited will have the chance to participate in the programme.
However, he noted that the OML communities’ leadership had convened on November 5th to discuss the malicious publication and had decided to conduct a thorough investigation and take necessary action.