13 May 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Oghora community in Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State, has raised the alarm over plans by an oil firm, Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Company Limited, to forcibly commence exploration of oil in their community without due process.
The community also alleged that the company employed military action to force itself into the only farming and fishing land owned by Oghora people without conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, nor entering any MoU with the community.
The Paramount ruler of Ogura, Chief Akot Joe, who raised the alarm, called on the Rivers State Government and the Rivers State House of Assembly to come to their aid over the show of force by the company.
Chief Joe explained that when members of the community took to the street to protest the development, the company ordered military personnel to disband them.
According to him, “When Oghora women, children and youths staged a peaceful protest to the company site one retired Navy Captain called Osia gave a ‘shoot at sight order’ to hired military personnel who shot indiscriminately at the peaceful protesters, leaving pregnant women, children and youths seriously wounded in the pandemonium that ensued.
“Captain Osia is the Chief Security Officer of Sterling Oil Company, he even had to threaten me.
“Sterling Oil Company wants to use the style used by Shell in Ogoni in the 1980s and 1990s to clear our community.”
Chief Joe also alleged that Captain Osia had threatened to wreck more violence on the community and called on the state government to intervene and call the company to order in a bid to avoid bloodshed.