The people of Obite community in Ogba/Egbema/ Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have called on Total Exploration and Producing Nigeria Limited to obey a Supreme Court judgement awarding the community monetary compensation or forget about operating in the area.
The people of the community, who shut down a gas plant operated by the oil company for allegedly refusing to pay the sum of N2.5 billion from the initial N25 million it was supposed to pay for 28.8 hectares of land it operated on, had warned that without any negotiation they won’t leave the facility. They also said that since 2005 when they took Total to court and got a favourable judgement up to the Court of Appeal and the one they got at the Supreme Court on January 19, 2018, the oil company had refused to act on any of those judgements.
Spokesman of ObiteYouth Association, Ukadike Franklin, said: “Our concern is that Total should respect the Supreme Court judgement. The facility here is not built for the community; it is for the multinational, so they should compensate us. Also speaking, Chief S. O. Brown said the people of the area were ready for discussions with the oil company on the way forward, noting however that their efforts to make such happen had failed due to the company’s refusal to embrace dialogue. Brown said: “We won them inallthecourts wewent to. We have told them that after the court it was time for dialogue, but the company refused. We are not leaving until they attend to us. “This facility has caused a lot of people blindness. We don’t drink rainwater anymore because of contamination. Many people are sick and some are dying.
The worst is that they are not employing our youths. We shall be here till we get what we want.” Meanwhile, the company in a statement signed by its Acting Country Communication Manager, Senan Murray, said: “On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, some community members from Obite in Ogba Egbema/Ndoni Local Government of Rivers State, forcefully accessed our Obite Gas Plant and forced the staff on duty to shut down the operations.