OML25 Sparks Fresh Row In Kula …Wike Blasts Monarch For Reneging On Agreement …Communities Demand Belema Oil
Fresh crisis is brewing in Kula communities over the Oil Mining License OML25 couple of days after the state government invited the SPDC and stakeholders in OML25 to sign the GMOU to reopen a shut down oil flow station in Kula.
Paramount rulers of communities of OML25, particularly those who participated in the signing of the GMOU have come out to say that they will not allow SPDC to return to their land.
Speaking at a world press conference, the Paramount Ruler of Kula Kingdom, King Kuruma Eleki said despite leading delegates to Government House for the signing of MoU, he still stands with the decision of his people that an indigenous operator, Belema Oil Producing Limited should be given the license.
He said “Since SPDC started operating here; they have not done anything significant for the people. Personally, I cannot go against the wishes of my people. Since I am part of the suffering they are suffering, I will not like SPDC to come back. They should give the OML25 to other operators if possible, to Belema Oil Producing Limited”.
Speaking in the same vein, the spokes person of Offoinma community, Ibituyo Nas Sukubo said their people had suffered so much under development and degradation under Shell and will not be part of any agreement that will bring the company back to Kula.
He blamed SPDC for not providing employments for their host communities and lamented what he called infrastructural decadence and devastation of the natural sources of their income, fishing by oil spills.
“Infrastructural decadence has made life unbearable in this land. Our natural source of income which is fishing has been totally devastated”, insisting that OML25 should be divested from Shell and given to Belema Oil.
The people of Belema community who were represented by their spokesperson, Fiara Okoye Davies said those who signed the agreement failed to take the feelings of the host communities who are the ones suffering the hardship. He took a swipe at those who proposed that SPDC should resume oil exploration in Kula.
According to the Belema spokeperson: “For almost 40years of its operations in oil and gas, SPDC has not only failed woefully in discharging its corporate, social responsibilities, but has destroyed our aquatic land. Its oil exploration and gas flaring without any remediation or cleanup plan, has left our community completely impoverished. Our farmlands have been polluted with massive oil spills, social life battered as a result of the company’s divide-and-rule operating style”.
He read the demands of his people which included among others, that the SPDC operatorship of OML25 be revoked and handed over to an indigenous operator, Belema Oil, warning that until these demands are met, the people would insist on their right.
It would be recalled that few days back the state government mediated peace between communities of OML25 and the SPDC on the need to reopen the oil facility which had been shut down for years in order for economic activities to thrive in the communities.
Meanwhile, the leader of Conscience of Ogoni people, Gani Toba says he plans to storm Kula with thousands of Ogoni women in solidarity with the people over OML25.
Gani said he supported the demand of the communities that an indigenous company, Belema oil should be given the oil license.
Barring any hitches, the protest, he said will take place before the end of July.
Governor Nyesom Wike had at the quarterly meeting of Rivers council of traditional Rulers Tuesday berated the paramount ruler of Kula Kingdom for reneging on the agreement he signed with SPDC on OML25 on behalf of Kula communities.