Two groups in the area of operations of OML 30, Cluster 11 in the Niger Delta region have risen in stout defence of operators of the oil servicing facility, Ocean Marine Solutions, OMS, and its chief executive officer, CEO, Idahosa Wells Okunbo over allegations of not empowering the indigenes and subletting surveillance contracts to indigenes of the area. The two groups are the Central Youth Body of Warri, Escravos, Burutu and Forcados in Burutu and Warri South-west local government areas, and the Niger Delta Coalition of Coastal Communities. In a protest march on Thursday, hundreds of youths and elders of host communities of OML 30, Cluster 11, in both Burutu and Warri South-west local government area of Delta State debunked the allegation by the youth group in Warri describing the claim as frivolous and baseless, and an attempt to blackmail the company.
Spokesman for the Niger Delta Coalition of Coastal Communities, NDCCC, Donben Donyegha, on his part, dismissed the allegation by one Bullet Otuaru against Okunbo describing it as false.
In a press statement made available to newsmen by leaders and youths of the communities which constitute OML 30, they insisted that those benefiting from the company are all bonafide indigenes of the communities. The statement has as signatories Fidelis Atutu , Don Dickson Ogugu, Yerin Golo, Jeremiah Iyepade, Ebikeme Angodideke, Phillip S. Fianka, Prince E. Onaro, Burutu Mozu, Yerin Joel, John Ekerefe, and Felix Ebah among others. They noted that those benefiting from the company are all bonafide indigenes of the communities. According to them, besides doling out pipeline contracts to indigenes of the host communities, Ocean Marine Solutions Limited had also empowered youths from the said communities and beyond as they receive salaries on a monthly basis as employees.
They said it was uncharitable for anyone or group of persons to have come up with such an untrue allegation aimed at blackmailing and maligning a company that is doing well and calling beneficiaries from the area strangers.
They therefore called on the Federal Government, Delta State Government, the concerned local government councils, and members of the general public to completely disregard such groups of people.
According to the statement, “The said purported Central Youth Body of Warri, Excravos, Burutu and Forcados in Burutu local government and Warri South-west local government areas of Delta State does not have the host communities’ mandate in cluster 11, OML 30 Trans-Forcados pipeline. “The self acclaimed Central Youth Body does not know the true picture of what and what is going on in Trans-Forcados pipeline OML 30.
“Concerning the said publication by this self- acclaimed youths, they are not even recognised in the host communities where this operation is taking place in OML 30 Trans-Forcados pipeline. The Federal Government of Nigeria, Delta State Government, the chairmen of Warri South -west and Burutu local governments should be aware that OMS has legally engaged the host communities and has done the needful by giving employment slots/jobs to the youths of the host communities, therefore, there is no youth restiveness that is likely to cause crisis in the concerned area where OMS is running the surveillance contract.
“The only thing that might likely bring issues if not urgently addressed is the use of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited to cancel and terminate the indigenous grass cutting/local surveillance contracts and workers in Trans-Forcados pipeline, OML 30 which the leaders of various communities, Delta State Government and Heritage in a joint meeting held at Government House, Asaba, resolved that Heritage should, with immediate effect, re-award such contracts back to its original beneficiaries from the host communities which Heritage has not been able to fulfill.
“As far as we are concerned, leaders of the host communities in OML 30, this is the only thing that is causing tension which might likely cause issues if Heritage fails to revert the contracts to their original indigenous contractors.