(By Silas Ofori ) – At a time when Rivers people are heaving a sigh of relief that peace has finally and generally returned to the erstwhile troubled communities in the state, controversy over the acquisition of a Certificate of Occupancy by Greenville Oil and Gas Company Limited on the expanse of land leased to them for 30 years has set Rumuji, the host Rivers community on fire.
A statement signed by Hon. Joseph Wori and Mr. Chikodi Ojims on behalf of the aggrieved land owners and made available to Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt, explained that Greenville Oil and Gas Company Limited came to Rumuji Community in 2015, and land was leased to them for 30 years for the building of their operational Base.
The landowners are however angry that the company, which has failed to fulfill its corporate social responsibility as contained on the lease agreements in close to seven of its operation in the community, has moved to acquire a proprietary document via a Certificate of Occupancy thereby undermining the proprietary rights of the landowners in the land.
The contention of the land owners, according to the statement was that, the land was merely leased to the company for a period of 30 years and that there was no clause in the lease agreement that permitted the company to secure proprietary interest in the land by way of Certificate of Occupancy with out the consent of the landowners.
They are also accusing the company of going ahead to secure a loan using the fraudulently acquired C of O as collateral to the detriment of the Land Owners.
“It is the contention of the landowners that that the illegal acquisition of the said C of O, which is a proprietary document is a deliberate move by the company to illegally displace the landowners of their ancestral land”, the statement alleged, adding that the action has set the entire community on fire.
They are therefore pleading with the Rivers State Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey as well as the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, to cause an investigation to be carried out on the incurably defective C of O acquired by the company with a view to revoking it accordingly in order to avert the possible break down of law and order in the area.
Efforts by Notable Outcome to reach Joseph Oyadin, the General Manager of Greenville Oil and Gas Company Limited, located at Rumuji in the Emohua Local Government of Rivers State, was not successful. However, sources close to him claimed that the action of the company was justified.