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OML 38: Oil community accuses Seplat of neglect

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OML 38: Oil community accuses Seplat of neglect

●No complaint received, says firm

The host community to Okpohuru Oil Wells, under Oil Mining Lease (OML 38), Ajawuini Community in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, has accused SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc, of neglect.
The community, which made this allegation in a document, blamed the oil company operating the wells in their domain of fanning the embers of trouble as it has allegedly decided to adopt a “divide and rule” tactic in its relations with the entities that make up the collective hosts of the said Oil Wells, which comprises Ajawuini and Ugbevwe Communities.”

The document, which comprises a letter of protest written to the Oil Company showed that the leadership of Ajawuini Community expressed its grouse with SEPLAT’s alleged machinations to excise it from the class of communities, which enjoy the benefits accruable from hosting the Okpohuru Oil Wells, under OML 38.

In a phone conversation made between our reporter and the Community Relations Manager for Seplat Plc, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, the company denied ever receiving any correspondence from the community or any of its representatives concerning the matter.

This contradicts a copy of the Proof of Delivery obtained from the courier company, EMS, which indicates that the latest letter, which was sent by the community’s lawyers, and was duly addressed to the MD/CEO of Seplat at the company’s head office, was received on the 16th February, 2018 at about 1:32pm by an official of the company who simply identified herself as Bukola.
After efforts to get further reactions of the company concerning this inconsistency in their claims, further emails, text messages and phone calls were not properly responded to, even though most of our messages to them were duly acknowledged.

The letter issued by the community’s attorneys, Eronmonsele Law Chambers, which was also made available to this newspaper, however, condemned in strong terms, the Firm’s decision to accept Ugbevwe Community, as a host community, to the utter neglect of Ajawuini Community.

It stated; “Whereas, Ugbevwe Community is only a fringe, autonomous quarter, tucked within the bowels of Ajawuini Community; Seplat decided to preposterously reject Ajawuini Community itself as a host community. It certainly does not add up to say that Ajawuini Community, which is the nearest community to the oil wells on all sides and also exclusively owns all the access roads to the oil wells is not a host community.”

Corroborating the allegation, Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman for Ajawuini Community, Bishop Onovwiona Emmanuel, stated; “Before Seplat took over the contract from Shell, Ajawuini Community had been the major host to shell and always enjoyed all the benefits of being a host community.

“This relationship continued, even after Seplat took over the Oil Wells until around 2010 when they stopped recognizing Ajawuini community as their hosts, thereby stopping to fulfil all their usual obligations to the community. Since then, Seplat has turned down all peaceful efforts to ensure that this situation is peacefully redressed. We therefore call on Seplat for the umpteenth time to do the right thing before the community youth would start destruction of oil property”.

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