The people of Makaraba community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, has accused Chevron of owing 41 years land rent, running into over N1 billion.
In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Petroleum, dated April 26, 2021, and made available to our correspondent, the Community Chairman, Wilson Bubor and Secretary Henry Bubor, through their Counsel Ike Okowo & Co, claimed that Gulf Oil Company Limited which later rebranded as Chevron, had in 1978 acquired the expense area of land measuring approximately eight hectares from Late Pa. Makaraba Bubor, founder of Makaraba community.
It read, “Upon the said acquisition of the community’s land in 1978, a formal lease agreement dated 27th day of September, 1978, containing various covenants for its sustenance was executed between Gulf Oil Nigeria, paid to late Pa. Makaraba Bubor, the sum of (10) ten pounce, being land fees with the covenant to pay annual rents amongst others.”
The letter noted that from records and archived passed to the present EXCO by their predecessors, Chevron Nigeria Limited for the past 42 years of its operation in Makaraba Oil Field, OMl 49, has refused to pay the mandatory land annual rents of 10 pounce on the Makaraba land leased to Chevron, since the 27th September, 1978 till date.
It further alleged that within the period, Chevron Nigeria Limited did not embark on any viable beneficial project in the host community, not even staffing graduates from the community in Chevron (A case in point is that of Mrs Wilson Bubor who is since overdue for such consideration) an act which they said constituted fragrant breach of the various covenants contained in the lease agreement of 1978.
“Giving a graphics details of the arrears purportedly owed the community and her people, the letter demanded payment of arrears of annual rent of ten years period – 1979 to 1988 which amount to N80 million at the valued rent payable rate per hectares of N1million between 1979 to 1988 with valued rent payable for eight hectares at N8 million naira.
“The community also demanded that subsequent ten years starting from 1989 to 1998, the valued rent payable per hectare was N2 million, N16 million for valued rent payable per eight hectares with accumulated ten years period of valued arrears of annual rent amounting to N160 million.
“They also demanded N3 million valued rent payable per hectares for the years 1999 to 2008, N24 million for valued rent payable for eight hectares and N240million for accumulated arears of annual rent for ten years period.
“They further demanded N5 million, N40 million and N400 million respectively for subsequent ten years period – 2009 to 2018.
“Moreso, the letter demanded N7 million, N14 million and N28 million as valued rent payable per hectares, valued rent for eight hectares and accumulated arrears of annual rent respectively for the period of 2019 to 2020.
“In summary, the community are demanding immediate payment of her 41 years arrears of land rent totaling N908,0000,000.00 (Nine hundred and eight million naira) only as well as N100 million, being Makaraba Elders/Community Chiefs customary money and additional N100 million peace bonus for Makaraba exco members.
“They are also demanding immediate recognition of neighbouring Poutobor community as host community to Chevron Nigeria Limited,” it stated.