By Onome Oghenetega
Itsekiri oil bearing communities in Delta State have accused operators of OML 108 also known as Ukpokiti oil field, Express Petroleum and Gas Company Limited and its Technical Partner, Conoco Phillip Energy of allegedly denying State of its supposed oil royalties.
OML 108 (Ukpokiti oil field) is situated around the boundary communities of Delta and Ondo States.
But the communities under the aegis of Itsekiri Orere Coastal Communities in both Warri North and Warri South-West LGAs of the state insisted that the area where the oil field is situated belongs to Delta, and not Ondo thus revenue should be pay to Delta.
The communities disclosed this during a meeting with the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, at the Government House Annex, Edjeba-Warri.
The communities claimed that instead of remitting its personal income tax to Delta where the oil field is located, the company remits same to neighbouring Ondo State Government.
They tendered several documents from various agencies of Government, including a Court judgment where the Oil Company was asked to pay compensation to some leaders of the communities for masterminding their illegal arrest and detention in Kirikiri Prison in 2011, as evidence that the disputed oil field is located within their domain.
This is Even as they accused Express Petroleum and Gas Coy and Conoco Philip Energy Nigeria Limited of several infractions, including failure to recognize and deal with its host Itsekiri communities.
Speaking through Evangelist Rocky Odeli, the aggrieved communities urged the State Government to prevail on the companies to stop neglecting its corporate social responsibilities to their host communities.
They urged the State Government to prevail on both companies to enter into a Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoU) that will regulate the relationship between them and the companies.
Addressing the aggrieved communities, Mrakpor who was represented at the meeting by the Director, Department of Peoples Rights of the Ministry, Mr. Toris Megbuluba, frowned at the non-appearance of the Company’s representatives in the meeting in spite of being invited to attend.