– The community members are angry that NPDC has marginalised the people of the area since it took over the operation of the area from Shell
– The people protested round the community but warned that should the firm fail to meet its needs, its activities will be paralysed in the area
The people of Kunukunuma Federated community, host to OML 42 flow station in Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri south west local government area of Delta state have given the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) 21 days ultimatum within which to address the issue of alleged marginalization.
The people of the oil rich community handed down the ultimatum during a protest held in the community, with a threat to shut down the flow station if by the end of the 21-day-ultimatum nothing was done about their demand.
Some of the inscription in the placards carried by the protesters who chanted war songs and danced round the community include:“Kunukunuma Federated Community wants development, OML 42 is our God given mandate,” “NPDC stop this act of oppression and intimidation,” “Okowa please call NPDC to order,” “NPDC equity and fair play is all we want.”
Chairman of the community, Chief Moses Bebenimibo, who addressed journalists during the protest, lamented that NPDC has denied them the rights and privileges they used to enjoy when Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was in charge of OML 42.
He said: “Kunukunuma community was recognized by SPDC as one of her host and as such has been giving host benefits in terms of rights and privileges. The community enjoys both post primary and post primary scholarship benefits from Shell over the years during the period Shell was operating OML 42 on behalf of NNPC.
“Furthermore, physical infrastructure such as classroom blocks, community electricity projects were awarded by SPDC and constructed for the community. Evidence of these abounds in respect of SPDC relationship with our community.”
The chairman also alleged that NPDC has, since its takeover, refused to complete all the projects left behind by SPDC, stressing that as host to NPDC it has the right to enjoy all the privileges attached to the position.
He said the community would have shut down NPDC during the weekend but for the timely intervention of the monarch of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Ogboro-Gbaruan II who pleaded with them to soft-pedal.
He added that Kunukunuma community is a peace loving community, noting that they have been pushed to the wall hence the call for NPDC to do the needful and include them in the scheme of things.
“This is not good at all. The Kunukunuma community is a peace loving community and we like to live in peace. We do not want to do anything that will disrupt the existing peace in the area. However, what brings grievances is oppression and denial of man’s right and privileges,” the community chairman added.
He appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state to intervene in the matter and call NPDC to order and implored the governor to prevail on the oil firm to restore their rights and privileges which they were enjoying when SPDC was in charge.
Chief Bebenimibo said: “We want to strongly appeal for the intervention of the Governor of Delta state in this matter. He should call NPDC to order by prevailing on the company to restore the rights and privileges the Kunukunuma community was enjoying when SPDC was in operation. SPDC handed over both assets and liabilities of OML 42 operational area to NPDC. A stitch in time saves nine.”