Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) producing oil and gas, Anambra State chapter has protested the continued denial of oil-producing status for the state.
The group which ended its protest at the Government House, Awka, where its members submitted their letter to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwudobelu, said they had ran out of patience watching as oil was drilled and gas flared in the state without according Anambra the rightful recognition as an oil- producing state.
It said most annoying was the alleged denial by the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) of the presence of a company, Sterling Global, in the state which it claimed had since 2013, been exploring oil in two communities in the state, Ogwu-Ikpele and Ogwu-Anaocha both in Ogbaru local government.
In a statement signed by the Chairman, HOSCON Anambra state, Comrade Tony Chiokwe and the leader and Chairman, Elders Advisory Council of the body, Dr. Emeka Ilouno, the host communities noted that former President Jonathan Goodlock had in 2012 declared Anambra an oil-producing state and wondered why that had not reflected in real terms.
They said: “On August 30, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan declared Anambra State an oil producing state, with Orient Petroleum prospecting oil in Enugu Otu. Since then, other oil companies have entered the terrain, prospecting oil in the state. While OPL 815, 816 and 817 are allocated to two oil companies, Sterling Global has since year 2013 been exploring oil in two main communities in Anambra state, namely Ogwu-Ikpele and Ogwu-Anaocha, both in Ogbaru local government area of the state.
“At Ogwu-Ikpele community, they are not only prospecting oil but flaring gas, two activities that are seriously degrading the environment. Most disturbing is that they drill in Anambra State and pipe the crude to Delta State, from where it is barged and exported, thereby making it look as if the oil is drilled from Delta State.
“DPR is still in denial of the presence of Sterling Global in Anambra State. As we speak, the oil rig/platform of Sterling Global is standing on Anambra soil, in Ogwu-Ikpele community. The connotation of DPR’s denial, therefore, is that what Sterling Global is doing in Anambra State is a large-scale oil bunkering/illegal oil prospecting. Should DPR and the FGN continue to turn blind eyes to these illegal activities?
“Seven years of sufficient oil prospecting in Anambra State is supposed to have earned this state full recognition as an oil- producing state, with its attendant benefits, but no; we are still being denied that status. This is a grand fraud!
“We the HOSCON, Anambra State chapter, hereby demand that the DPR/FGN should, as a matter of urgency, confirm the presence of Sterling Global on Anambra fields and consequently extend all the benefits due to our state as an oil- producing state, to us.
“We are also calling the attention of our national body to this aberration/misnomer taking place in our dear state.”