Atesuo Community in Warri North council area of Delta state has threatened to shut down operations of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and Elcrest Exploration and Production Company, over alleged repeated failure to recognise and treat them as one of their host communities.
Issuing a 14-day ultimatum to the companies, who are operators of oil mining lease (OML) 40 in a statement addressed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the community stated that its peaceful disposition may have been taken for granted, adding that it will not continue to be “ignored”.
The statement, which was signed by executive members of the community, including its chairman, Chief Johnbull Adaun, the vice, Evang Freedom Egbor and spokesperson, Hon. Dickson Isene, disclosed that all efforts to get a roundtable discussion with the NPDC/Elcrest management have been futile.
Noting that Atesuo is the closest to the OML 40 Opuama Flowstation, which it has played host to for decades, the community lamented that it had borne the brunt of oil and gas activities with nothing on the part of the operators, to cushion the effects.
The statement in parts reads, “as their Host, Atesuo Community has been ignored for decades with nothing to show as oil producing Community and the closest Community to Opuama Flowstation.
“We have written several letters to NPDC/ Elcrest E&P Nigeria Ltd requesting for a meeting to discuss the recognition and treatment of Atesuo Community as host community in OML 40 without success.
“Atesuo Community suffers all the environmental hazards directly from NPDC/Elcrest operations due to the fact that Atesuo Community is the closest Host Community to Opuama Flowstation.
“The management of Elcrest Exploration and Production Nig. Ltd and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC have taken our peaceful disposition for granted all through the years by not acceding to our demands and deliberately ignoring the series of letters, requesting for recognition and treatment of Atesuo Community as Host in OML 40 Opuama Flowstation, Atesuo Oil Field.”
However, calling for the state government’s “timely intervention,” on or before August 24, the community vowed to stop operations at the flow station, if its demands are not met.
“The Atesuo community hereby issue another 14 days ultimatum to NPDC/El-Crest JV and also put the government at all levels and security operatives on notice that we shall stop NPDC/EL-CREST JV operations in Opuama Flow station, OML 40, Atueso field upon the expiration of this ultimatum on August 24 if nothing is done,” the statement added.