Mkpoikana Udoma 01 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt -Alleging negligence, a group known as the ONELGA Oil and Gas Landlords Families Association in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State has shut 37 oil wells belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.
According to chairman of the association, Mr. Chikobi Alali, the decision to shut the NAOC-operated oil wells was as a result of the company’s alleged failure to attend to cries of negligence of the area by the company over the years and its inability to resolve age-long dispute with the landlord families.
Contacted for comments on the development, a senior official at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Port Harcourt told SweetcrudeReports that it is against the company’s policy “to join issues with anybody, group or even the media”.
Alali said the ONELGA Oil and Gas Families Association is the ancient owners of Oil Mining Leases, OMLs, 60 and 61 on which 150 oil well heads owned by NAOC the local government are stand. Besides, he said, the local government area also plays host to the Ebocha Oil Centre, OB/OB Gas injection plant, electrical generating turbines, pipelines, flow lines and other installations belonging to the company.
The latest showdown, according to the group, was triggered by NAOC’s inability to honour the understanding it reached with the association with regard to corporate social responsibility, CSR, payment of what it termed ‘palliatives’, and addressing problems affecting the communities in the area of security and the environment.
Alali said the Chairman of ENI Group – the parent company of Agip, Ms. Emma Marcegala, the Managing Director of ENI Group, Mr. Claudio Descalzo; Vice-President of ENI Group, Sub-Sahara Africa, Mr. Umberto Carrara; and Managing Director of NAOC, Mr. Massimo Insulla, as well as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, have been notified to wade into the matter, to no avail.
He said: “The palliatives are immediate payment of all landlords contractors’ bills, payment of 1% total amount accrued from deduction made in contracts awarded to and executed by landlord families contractors to the association account, out of court resolution of all pending court cases between the oil and gas landlords families and NAOC, including judgment of court in suit no: FHC/PH/CS/1352/2004, compensation of the Ebocha blowout for Egbema communities, and payment of approved legal land rates by government”.
The chairman of the group also alleged that the ONELGA oil and gas landlord families’ contractors have not been paid for their services for over one year.
He called on the Federal Government to intercede in the matter “to protect the interest of the landlords”.
A senior official in NAOC, who told our correspondent that it is against the company’s policy “to join issues with anybody, group or even the media,” added: “Even our Managing Director here in Port Harcourt cannot speak to the media on anything. That is just our policy. Any how you want to slant your story, just go ahead and slant it, but, no official of NAOC will speak to you concerning this issue or any other issues about the company.”