Cost communities of the Jones Creek Oil Field in Warri Southwest and Warri North local government areas of Delta State have given operators of oil facilities in the areas a seven-day ultimatum to meet their demands or stop their operations.
The communities, comprising of Kokodiagbene, Omadino, Ekpemu Akpata, Okerenkoko and Akpata Gbe-Gbe, gave the warning yesterday at a media briefing in Warri.
This followed an initial agreement at a meeting organised by the Commanding Officer of 3 Battalion, Effurun, between the host communities and the operators of the oil field, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and its contractors, Nestoil Plc.
But the General Manager of the Warri operations of Nestoil, Chief Olajide Ishola, said his company had done all it could humanly do to meet the demands of the communities.
The company chief said issues on outstanding payments on completed projects had been substantially attended to.
He added that an agreement had been reached on how to settle the outstanding.
Reading from a statement by Ambassador Austine Oniyesan, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, Chief James Tangbowei, Chief Mosco Johnny and Isaiah T. Odu, on behalf of Omadino, Kokodiagbene, Okerenkoko, Ekpemu Akpata and Akpata Gbe-Gbe communities, Mulade highlighted some of the demands of the people.He said the communities demanded that “henceforth, Jones Creek Oil Field’s host communities will no longer sign any fresh F.T.Os with Nest Oil Plc”. Mulade added: “Nestoil and host community’s flow line contractors shall be mobilised to site, side by side, on or before the end of July.
“Nestoil management and community leaders shall visit the site for a head count of its work force at site because of its cruelty to host communities. The Jones Creek Oil Field, being the largest oil field in West Africa, uses this peaceful protest as a warning for the passage of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Restructured Bill. Nestoil will stop its flow line jobs on completion at the present location until the community’s flow line contractors are equally and fully mobilised to site.”
On what the next line of action of the communities would be if the operators fail to meet up the demands, Mulade said: “We released the station yesterday (Monday) and, today, we are addressing this press briefing. At the meeting, we also clearly stated that we were giving them seven days to act.”
But the General Manager of Nestoil’s Warri Operations, Chief Ishola said allegation of non-employment of the communities was unfounded.
Ishola said the company had heaps of memoranda to show its relations with employees from the communities, adding that the employees were paid regularly.
On allegation of sharp practices the company’s officers in registering private companies to hijack contract jobs that ought to go to the communities, he said: “I don’t have any company and I am not aware that there my workers are involved in this. If they know any of our workers who is involved in sharp practices, they should expose them. Such would be disciplined.”
The communities, last week, shut down the flow station for four days during a peaceful protest.
The action caused a shortfall of over 250,000 barrels per day of crude oil.