Oil field ownership: Delta communities seek FG’s intervention to avert crisis

By Edeki Igafe
Warri (Delta), Feb. 16, 2024 (NAN) Residents of Abigborodo and Obagboro Communities in the Warri North Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta on Friday held a peaceful protest over the ownership of the Kuri Oil Field.
They consequently called on both the state and federal governments to intervene before the situation escalates into a crisis.
The protesters, comprising youth and women, stormed the Kuri oil field platform in boats to express anger over attempt by Makaraba and Omadino Communities in Warri South Local Government Area to claim ownership of the field.
The angry protesters, in their hundreds, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Kuri field belongs to us”, “Don’t deprive us of our rights”, and “Makaraba and Omadino have no place in Kuri field”.
Addressing newsmen, Misan Ukubehinje, Chairmen of Abigborodo Community said that the Kuri Oil Field was being forcefully taken away from them by the Makaraba and Omadino Communities.
Ukubehinje, however, declared that they would not permit the company to operate until a roundtable discussion was held and government intervention sought.
He also criticised the behavior of the oil and gas committee set up to handle the ownership case, alleging that their decisions were made based on politics and fear.
“The decisions made by the committee are unacceptable. We demand a thorough investigation. We have various means to protect our interests, even in the face of military intervention,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Austin Ogbemi, Chairman of Obagboro Community, said that the Kuri Field fell within the jurisdiction of Warri North and belonged to the Obagboro and Abigborodo Communities.
He said that Makaraba and Omadino Communities, located in Warri South, had no legal claim to the Kuri field.
Ogbemi, however, said that they would pursue their rights through lawful means.
Responding on behalf of SHN Energy Limited, Mr Augustine Okwazu, said that he would relate the demands of the protesters to the management.
Okwazu had a brief meeting with the protesters on ways to resolve the issues
“Tne communities came for a peaceful protest, and we discussed. I will pass their demands to the management, which in turn will reach back to them,” he said
Recall that Abigborodo Community had earlier addressed an open letter to Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta on the alleged illegal and oppressive actions of some members of his cabinet and SHN Energy Limited.
According to the letter, “Abigborodo is an oil-producing community with proprietary and customary rights over the land hosting PPL 222 (Kuri Field).
“The award of the Kuri Field to Shepard Hill Petroleum Development Limited and Nord Oil APS & Energy Limited affirmed their ownership”. (NAN)