Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is a major crack in Opu Nembe community (Nembe- Bassambiri) in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State as a set of community leaders have distanced themselves from the quit notice served on AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Limited over the operations of Oil Mining License (OML) 29.
The Council of Chiefs at a press conference over the weekend had asked Aiteo to hands off the operation of OML 29 declaring it persona non grata in the area over the shabby treatment that has meted out to the people.
However a set of leaders under the aegis of Concerned Sons and Daughters of Opu Nembe in a press statement expressed disappointment with the way and manner the Council of Chiefs has managed resources accrued from the operations of Aiteo in the community.
According to them before the advent of Aiteo, the community had purchased two boats flowing from the training and orientation for the leadership of the community from the previous operator of OML 29, Shell Petroluem Development Company (SPDC) on how to reinvest funds accruing to the community from the General Memorandum of Understanding(GMoU).
Sadly they noted that the boats which were given back to the oil company for hiring for which millions of naira had accrued to the community purse had not benefitted the community as there is lack of transparent and accountability.
The press statement signed by Mr Numoipre Dede, Mrs Love Ayebaemi, Mr Monday Ozo, Mr Moses Dambo, Mrs PeaceAmabite, MrSamuel Appolo, Mr Ololo Bara and Mr Owei Nicholas alleged that some persons behind the quit notice to Aiteo are desperate because of the termination of their contracts due to incompetence and its re-award to more competent indigenous contractors.
The leaders while insisting that the community should not be dragged into personal issues between some members of the Council of Chiefs and Aiteo declared that Aiteo as an oil company has done well for the community.
The statement read in part”Aito has done some commendable things which deserved our commendation as a community. This includes prompt replacement of the community 1000KVA generator, and provision of incentives through festive periods. Also before now Shell pay N2000 remuneration per day and N60, 000 per month for unskilled workers but Aiteo through dialogue with the community leadership increase it to N5000 and N150, 000 respectively which makes Aiteo to be one of the oil companies that pays higher remuneration to unskilled workers in Nigeria.
Aiteo involves more indigenous contractors than the former operator of OML 29. It is on record that the number of Indigenous contractors involve in providing services are higher than any previous time. We believed this in turn created more employment opportunities for the youths that led to reduction in social vices and other criminal activities in our waterways like sea-piracy”