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Vanguard (Nigeria): Shell’s Odidi gas project tears Ijaw community apart

By Emma Amaize
Posted to the Web: Monday, July 23, 2007

WARRI —  IJAWS of Ogbe-Ijoh Community in Warri, Delta State are at loggerheads over the execution of the Odidi Associated Gas Gathering Project by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

The disagreement came to light following a protest letter, dated 17 July, by the Ogbe-Ijoh community to the General Manager, SPDC, Warri, alleging that there was a clandestine and provocative plan, promoted by some Ogbe-Ijoh indigenes in collaboration with some SPDC officials to deny the community of its benefits from the project.

In the letter, entitled, “Odidi Modular Building – Phase two: Let sleeping dogs lie”, signed by Chief Andrew Anegba, Joseph Hitler, Ese Gbenebode, E.K. Omare and Mike Oweikpodor, the community accused some  supposed connected persons in the SPDC who do not see any thing good in Ogbe-Ijoh and want crisis in Ogbe-Ijoh, as the brains behind the divide and rule tactics.

They said that the conspirators had come up with allegation that Ogbe-Ijoh community was not qualified to benefit from the project because the community is not part of either the Collective Bargaining Bodies, (that is, Odidi AGG Central Co-ordinating Committee (CCC) and House Work).

In their words: “We wish to state that Ogbe-Ijoh community’s right to benefit from the above mentioned project or any other Odidi AGG project, like any other community, is not predicated on being part of CCC or House Work, but because of its being a host community by acquisition. The status of Ogbe-Ijoh community as a host community is not in doubt. The different SPDC acquisition data right from the 60s attests to this fact.

“Furthermore, you will recall that at the start of the first phase of the Odidi AGG project, similar effort to deprive Ogbe-Ijoh community and others such as Kantu, Ode-Itsekiri, etc by SPDC and the CCC group led to a protest to the Delta State House of Assembly, which culminated in the resolution of the House and formation of House Work, as a Collective Comunities Bargaining Body, comprising Ogbe-Ijoh community, Kantu, Ode-Itsekiri, etc,” they asserted.

They, however, stated that the Ogbe-Ijoh community thought it convenient at a point in time and pulled out of the House Work and negotiated on its own with the contracting firm, Julius Berger after some parts of the AGG project had been completed, adding that the fact that the community negotiated with the contracting firm does not in any way suggests that the SPDC should not negotiate or recognize it in the project.

The community warned: “If the SPDC insists on carrying out its provocative plans of depriving Ogbe-Ijoh community of its rights, we are ready to use the last drop of our blood to defend our right”, adding, “no number of army will be enough to guide SPDC’s facilities and provide a safe working environment, if we are not given what belongs to us. All we are asking is give us what belongs to us”.
 
http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/niger_delta/nd123072007.html

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