Ben Dunno, Warri
Cluster Management Committee (CMC) and Communities’ Representatives Committee (CRC) in the Oil Mining Lease 30 have denied the support for total disengagement of Heritage from its oil block, insisting there are laid down procedures in resolving issues between oil firms and its host communities.
The bodies who advised the community indigenes not to take laws into their hands by resorting to violent means in realising their demands from the management of the oil firm urged them to adhere strictly to the laid down procedure of conflict resolution between both parties.
Making its stand known in a statement signed by Mr Okpako Godwin Onome, Mr Clement Udi and 8 others, made available to newsmen in Warri, yesterday, both the CMC and CRC, said those calling for the company to leave the community had run foul of the GMoU signed in the presence of the state government
While claiming that the aggrieved community indigenes had not exhausted the provisions of the conflict resolution procedure, the bodies admonished the people to, first of all, take an advantage of the dialogue option in the procedure in settling whatsoever grievances between them.
According to the statement: ‘As community leaders and Cluster Chairmen/Secretaries in the OML 30 we would ordinarily not respond to such publications, but when the issues involved affects our communities we believe our consent should be sought before such statements affecting is made”.
‘We as leaders and Cluster Chairmen/Secretaries in the OML 30 are bound by the GMoU signed by us and the company and witnessed by the Delta State Government, and will therefore not be party to blanket statements to the press without consultations and following due process as enunciated in the dispute resolution procedures of the GMOU.
‘We are not defending the company and its failures, but rather advocate that we follow the dispute resolution procedures. It is explicitly stated in article 16.1, 16.6 and 16.7 of the GMoU that no party should resort to violence and self-help.
‘The publication directly breaches Article 16.7, as the call to disengage definitely calls for disruption of Business Operations and we will not be party to actions that breaches the GMoU and affects the oil production in our oilfields.
‘We, therefore, completely disassociate our clusters and communities from this illegality and call on the authors to consult widely so that we can put in motion dispute resolution process. Until this is exhausted we will not be party to requesting the company to leave if it falls within our purview.’