OML 25 tussle: Kula Kingdom rejects Wike’s intervention

Nigeria must entrench transparent oil licensing process

The intrigues surrounding the Oil Mining Licence (OML) 25 in Kula Kingdom of Rivers state seem far from ending as the communities, on Thursday, rejected the intervention of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on the crisis that led to the shut down of Belema Flow Station.

Wike had while meeting with Chairmen of Cluster Development Boards in Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema Local Government Areas with Oil Companies and Security Agencies at the Government House Port Harcourt, on June 13, ordered the immediate revival of the State Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards.

According to him: “I will not support any company not to carry out their corporate social responsibilities to their host communities.

“However, communities must not take laws into their hands. They must not stop production by the operating companies. Such actions will negatively affect the finances of the Federal Government, the state and the local government areas”.

He said that situation where communities seize facilities of oil companies should end stressing that: “It is important that we do not allow a crisis to occur in the communities. The Aeroton rig in one community was seized. That rig should be allowed to work. I called this meeting because of the concerns raised by the operating companies in the area”, he said.
The host communities had in 2017 shut down operations of OML 25 over alleged non-implementation of the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), which was signed on December 30, 2005, and February 13, 2015.

However, while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt Thursday on behalf of the communities, General Secretary of Belema Community Council of Chiefs, Alabo Finla Okoye Davies, said the issues are currently been handled by the federal government.

Davies insisted that those invited by Wike to attend the meeting over the shut down of the flow station are not members of the host communities of the OML 25, adding that the rightful leadership of the communities were not invited.

He said: “We, the host communities have carefully studied the invitation to the meeting and wish to state that the key players and rightful leadership of the communities were not invited to the meeting. Rather, some communities were not members of the host communities of OML 25.

“That the matter is being handled by the Presidency and is currently before the Office of the Vice President for dialogue, negotiation and peaceful resolution, which the Rivers state government is fully aware of.

“That the host communities of OML 25 do not have confidence in the Rivers State government handling the matter as previous administrations of Dr Peter Odili and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of which the present governor was part of these administrations, could not resolve.”

“That the so-called intervention of the state governor on OML 25 issue is meddlesome as the issue is on the Exclusive List and not on the Concurrent List of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We further view this meeting as an invitation to a resurgence of violence and anarchy in the Kula Kingdom, which is arguably the most peaceful environment in Rivers State.”