Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
TENSION is fast building up in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State as protesters from Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun communities have gathered at the tank farm of Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL), Ode-Ugborodo and Otumara Flow Station of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Otumara, awaiting the verdict of the
Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) over the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Stonix News reports that the NUPRC officials had, last week Friday, said it would announce its final decision strictly in line with the PIA provisions on the requests by Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun communities and other Itsekiri communities for the registration of Otumara Host Community Development Trust and Ikpere Host Community Development Trust, among others.
The PIA was signed into law in 2021, with a provision for community-based establishment of Host Community Development Trust (HCDTs) for the oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta.
Stonix News gathered on Tuesday afternoon that while awaiting the final verdict of NUPRC latest 4:00p.m today, folks from the aggrieved communities have taken positions at the tank farms of the IOCs armed with placards, singing and dancing to local vibes.
A terse message received from one of the leaders of Ugborodo, Mr Alex Eyengho, states the readiness of the protesters to fully occupy and shut down operations at the facilities of the IOCs if the verdict is contrary to the PIA provisions.
“While some jokers and meddlesome interlopers are fooling themselves in the name of diaspora protests in Warri South LGA, the owners of the areas of operations of Shell, Chevron and other IOCs, and true sons and daughters of Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun communities are presently in Ode-Ugborodo, Chevron Tank Farm and Shell-operated Otumara Flow Station in Warri South-West LGA where the IOCs operations are situated, awaiting the verdict of the NUPRC before 4pm today, failing which a total shutdown of Shell and Chevron facilities in the area SHALL commence,” he disclosed.
Some aggrieved protesters of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality had, on Monday, shut down activities at the zonal office of the NUPRC in Warri over an allegation that certain persons in the regulatory agency were trying to alter the already-constituted PIA board in the Iwereland.
The constituted representatives of the communities so submitted, as gathered, was at the instance of the Olu of Warri, said to be against the provisions of the PIA, which give no room for ethnic-based, but community groupings.
Speaking on the ongoing protests to our correspondent via WhatsApp video, one of the youth leaders, Blessing Eyengho, said the leadership of Ugborodo was not against the Olu of Warri, except in the area of conniving with the IOCs in violating the provisions of the PIA.
Eyengho said though Ugborodo people who are Itsekiri are peace-loving people, “we must follow the law. If this is not done, we shall distrupt their operations . We will resist them and shut down their facilities.
“We have nothing against the Olu of Warri, he’s our own. But on this, Ugborodo has its own administrative structure. He should consult the Eghare-Aja and others before taking decisions.
“We’re averse to those misleading him. He should follow the law as Itsekiri are known for. He’s a young man, we respect him. He should obey the law.
“The regulatory body should advise the IOCs to do the right thing or be ready for a total shut down,” he warned.