The people of Obite Community in Ogba Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have shut down a gas plant owned by TOTAL Exploration and Producing Nigeria Limited over the alleged refusal of the oil giant to pay them the sum of N2.5 billion. According to hundreds of residents of the five villages in Obite, who stormed the facility in protest, including men, women, chiefs and youths, they lamented the refusal of TOTAL to honour a Supreme Court judgement that ordered it to pay the community for operational lands.
They took over the entrance of Obite Gas plant and vowed to remain there until the firm begins discussions with them on the payment of the money, just as they claimed that Total forcefully added 98.4 hectares of land to the lands being contested for. One of the plaintiffs in the suit that produced the Supreme Court judgement, Mr. Daniel Clifford Uma, who spoke during the protest, berated TOTAL for operating in the area without meeting their financial obligations to the owners of the land they operate from.
Uma said despite the fact that the oil firm lost the suit the community filed against at the lower court up to the Appeal and Supreme Court, it still refused to respect the judgement. He also accused Total of using the military to disperse the people of the community whenever they start a peaceful protest to demand for the compensation.