WITH three gregarious masquerades leading the battle line, the border-communities comprising Kolokolo, Ikara and Ajatiton in Delta and Edo states have issued a seven-day ultimatum to incorporate them in the Oziengbe South Field operations as well as pay all entitlements owed them.
The ultimatum was issued on Monday to Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd, an oil-servicing firm during a protest by indigenes of the three riverine communities in both states.
Indigenes of the communities, comprising the elderly, youths of both male and female, who embarked on the peaceful protest, also threatened to shut down the company’s operations if it failed to yield to their demands.
The protesters were armed with placards with inscriptions such as, “Sahara #We demand a properly negotiated MoU,” “Ikara is host Community,” “Respect human rights,” ” Give peace a chance,” “Sahara Engaged is trying to instigate communal crisis by defining boundary for Communities,” and ” Sahara is breaking the laws of Nigeria,” among others.
Addressing the protesters, the Youth President-General of Kolokolo community, Comrade Sunny Etchie, who gave the ultimatum on behalf of the three riverine communities situated along the Benin river, said Kolokolo community has been one of the host communities to Oziengbe South field in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.
He said it was formerly operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) until lately when the said Oziengbe South field operations was handed over with all its assets and liabilities to Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd in 2015.
“It is worthy of note that since then, Sahara Enageed Resource Limited has only apart from the end of year gifts(rice and goats) given to Kolokolo Community wooden bridge crossing Kolokolo 1 to Kolokolo 2 as the only feasible project so far.
“In fact, Kolokolo Community had and is experiencing its worst marginalisation under Sahara Enageed’s Management.
” Kolokolo Community has almost completely lost its God-given rights and privileges that we were formally enjoying under the NPDC such as scholarships, capital projects and other entitlements etc has now gone into oblivion under Sahara Enageed Resource-limited Management.
“To make matter worst, the Management of Sahara Enageed Resource Limited has deliberately taken Kolokolo Community’s peace nature for granted to the extent that Sahara Engaged now defines boundary for host communities within and around the area and went ahead to suspend our Community(Kolokolo) from the operations of Oziengbe South field which is in our God-given ancestral home.
“They deprive us of being part of the ongoing drilling rig work operations in Ozinegbe South field.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that Kolokolo Community, one of the hosts, has taken to this protest and demand that our rights as one of the host Communities must be fully recognized by the Management of Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd,” he noted.
A leader of Ajatiton community, Mr Oloma Eyewuoma, who corroborated the claims of his Kolokolo counterpart said the world must know that Sahara Enageed Resource Ld does not have any interests in human rights.
Eyewuoma vowed that also said the communities will take their destinies in their hands if nothing is done amicably to resolve the issues.
Meanwhile, the lawyer to Kolokolo community, Mr Casely Omon-Irabor has vowed to institute all legal action against the company to ensure that the rights of the community are accorded them, adding that the company has neglected the communities for too long since it took over.