24 May 2012, Sweetcrude, ASABA – TENSION is rising in Okpai, Ndokwa East Local Government Area, Delta State, following a deadlock over alleged refusal by Nigerian Agip Oil Company to dialogue with the community.
The community also accuses Agip of short-changing it, in a petition by Mr. Austin Ogbolu, a former Commissioner representing Ndokwa East on the board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, and co-authored by eight others, including the Okpai Igwe-in-council and Oil Wellhead/Pipelines Landlords Association, .
The community, in the petition, threatened a showdown with the oil company if it failed to return to the dialogue table.
The petition addressed to the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Oil and Gas, and Managing Director of Agip, called for urgent intervention to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
The community said, “In the Okpai/Kwale gas plant, where Agip has engaged over 15 permanent labours and service contractors, which investigations revealed have been generated from stakeholding communities, there is no single Okpai community contractor.
“The most worrisome to us is Agip’s double standard in awards of contracts, where on the one hand in Okpai community, it awarded contracts to a non-landlord against the existing community land use agreement and on the other, removed from Okpai contractors, similar contracts performed by them in areas owned by Aboh people and re-awarded same to the rightful Aboh land owners in response to their protest.”