Youths and people of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community in Warri North council area of Delta state have given Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) a week ultimatum to evacuate their community or face a forceful eviction.
Disclosing this at a press briefing in Warri yesterday, the Polobuba (Tsekelewu) National Council (PNC) said the people of the community had tried to get the company to follow proper channels, but that the management of the NPDC had chosen to follow the path of war.
National President of PNC, Ebilate Mac-Yoroki, who addressed the briefing in the company of other leaders of the community, as well as youths, said that the NPDC, which operates the divested stakes of the oil multinational; Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in their area, commenced operations without any attempt to get strike an agreement with the community.
According to Mac-Yoroki, the earlier lease existing between his community and the SPDC had lapsed and that it was in the process of entering another agreement that the company sold its stakes out, adding that the new company had commenced the dredging of a channel from their community into the ocean without carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
He added further that the community had made several efforts to get NPDC sit with its leaders to come up with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), but that I had all fallen on deaf ears, adding that the company rather went ahead to singlehandedly draft an MOU, which it has been trying to foist on the community.
“They have a draft GMOU and inside that GMOU there is clause that the document will not be effective until it is negotiated and signed into. To our amazement, instead of the company to call us to say we should sit down and discuss this document, there has not been anything like that, rather the company preferred to go through the back door and operate, even to the extent of exploiting the crude as we speak.
“We see it as a way of slighting us and as if that is not enough, telling us that we don’t have enlightened people, who know their right from their left, otherwise there’s no way the company will draw a draft and for another year running, it has not even said let’s talk about it. The national body has written about twice, written and then sent a reminder to the company, calling them to dialogue table, but the company didn’t bother; no response and no acknowledgement of the letters that we have written at the national level to the NPDC
“We have given them an ultimatum, that was last Monday, by next week Monday, if there’s no tangible progress, we will stop them from further operations and ask them to leave because they are operating there illegally. That is also the position of the youths”, Mac-Yoroki said.
When reached on phone for the company’s response, the Manager, External Relations Department of the NPDC, Ugo Atugbokoh, said he was in a meeting and would call after his meeting. He was yet to call back as at the time of filing this report.