By Kelvin Ohoror
The oil and gas landlords of Ukolobi/Okpohro (Itesa) quarter of Oleh community led by Elder James Ejeke has called on Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited to disregard the Delta State government directives to discontinue fourth with the Oleh Community Development Committee led by Chief Obaro Ekokobe.
It will be recalled, the Delta State government through the Commissioner of oil/gas and the Isoko South Local Government Chairman Hon. Victor Asasa in a memo directed Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited to discontinue fourth with the Oleh community development committee (CDC).
In a statement signed by their lawyer Barr. Onowotu E.O on behalf of the oil and gas landlords, Oleh community stated that “A careful study of the letter from the Commissioner Ministry of Oil and Gas and the office of the Isoko South Local Government Council revealed a display of bias and nepotism and same negates the spirit and letters of the Global Memorandum of Understanding entered into by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited.
The statement further revealed that “The oil and gas landlords of Ukolobi/Okporho (Itesa) quarter of Oleh community have unanimously agreed and resolved to seek redress of the property right and same to be determine in court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to section 6(6) (B) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and not in any arbitration meeting or panel.
“The oil /gas landlords and the Oleh community development committee has made it crystal clear that they have lost confidence on any arbitration meeting that will be slated for either Delta State headquarter Asaba, Isoko South Local Government Council, Oleh or any place in view of their grievances of the leadership of Oil/Gas tussle in Oleh, to be determine in a court of competent jurisdiction and not the other way round.
According to them “A careful study of the GMOU there is no provision or Article wherein the Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Council or the Hon. Commissioner Ministry Oil/Gas are both enjoined to interfere into the leadership organs in Oleh community oil mining lease 30 Delta State or interface with oil/gas companies.
The Oil landlords further said that the subject matter of the leadership of Oleh Community OML30 Delta State or interface with oil/gas companies either the CDC or the OCDU is a subject matter of litigation pending in a court of competent jurisdiction in Suit No. HCO/42/3021 between the chairman oil/gas landlords Elder James Ejeke and seven others against Chief Believe Alakri in the High Court of Justice Delta State of Nigeria in the Oleh judicial division.
They added that “Chief Believe Alakri did not participate in the Cluster Management Committee election held in Emede community and supervised by the officials of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited whereupon Chief Obaro Ekokobe won as CMC chairman in a landslide”
They also argue that Chief Believe Alakri is not the President General of Oleh community but a union, that by the constitution of Oleh Community Development Union, Chief Believe Alakri and Barr. Obaro Oriki are only President General and Secretary of OCDU and membership is not mandatory to every Oleh indigenes but rather a voluntary association of persons in Oleh.
They pointed out that the suggestion of the Commissioner, Ministry Oil/Gas and the Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Council that Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited should immediately facilitate the conduct of an election where necessary to fill the vacant position of the Cluster Management Committee negates 7.5 of the Global Memorandum of Understanding of Wednesday 17th October 2018 as the tenure of office of Chief Obaro Ekokobe as chairman of CMC has not expired.