(By Silas Tamuno) -)-All is not well in the relationship between the people of Ekpeye kingdom in Rivers State and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited.The people are angry that, for over 25 years, Agip had neglected to pay the rent due them as hosts to OB-OB/Ogbobiri and Ogoda-Brass pipelines, and that they have not been considered for pipeline clearing and surveillance jobs.
The affected communities include Owube, Ubeta, Anwunugbokor, Ula-Ubie, Egbee and Ogoda.Also in the list are Oyigbo, Oshika, Okogbe, Uyakama, Obodhi and Ozochi communities.
In a petition to the Rivers State Commissioner of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs which was signed by the paramount rulers and chairmen of Community Development Committee of the 12 landlord communities as well as Hon. Emulie Azubuike, chairman of the association, Mr. Ogiri Chigozie, General Secretary and Comr. Geoffery Okpara, Coordinating Committee chairman, the Association of Ekpeye Oil and Gas Pipeline Landlord Communities observed that the action of Agip amounted to provocative disregard of the Local Content Act, adding that their efforts to reach the management of Agip in Port Harcourt for dialogue on the matter have been unsuccessful.
The petition, which was also sent to the Managing Director of Agip in Port Harcourt harped on the need for the consideration of host communities in the payment of rent and also consider them for pipeline clearing and surveillance jobs, as a way of giving them a sense of belonging and calming the tensed atmosphere in the area.
Efforts by Notable Outcome to hear from Nigerian Agip Company Nigerian Limited on this matter was not successful.