By Frank Oshanugor
Fresh storm is currently gathering at the Abigborodo axis of Delta State, as the community appears to be bracing up for battle with Seplat Development Company Plc.
The community is accusing the oil company of fanning the embers of disunity and crisis among communities and pre-empting the report of the judicial panel of enquiry set up by the Delta State Government.
In a letter dated June 17, 2021 to the Chief Executive Officer/ Executive Director, Seplat Development Company Plc, Roger Thompson Brown, the community cautioned that there was grave danger in the actions of the oil company.
‘’The Abigborodo Community decided to use through this medium to draw your attention and that of the general public to the plight of the Abigborodo Community most especially the likely consequences of the actions of Seplat Development Company Plc in entering and/or signing a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U) with Sapele Okpe Community without recourse to the Abigborodo Community as per her claims and rights’’.
Titled ‘’The plan of Seplat Development Company Plc to enter into/sign a memorandum of understanding with Sapele/Okpe community under OML 41 without carrying the Abigborodo Community along in the scheme of things: A catalyst to fanning the embers of disunity and crisis among communities and pre-empting the report of the judicial panel of enquiry set up by the Delta State Government: A call for restraint’’, the community urged Roger Thompson Brown to use his good offices as always, to wade into the matter and direct Seplat to stay action/restraint in respect of signing/entering a Memorandum of Understanding with Sapele/Okpe Community.
Written by Demaki & Demaki, Solicitors / Legal Advisers to Abigborodo Community, the community said the letter was necessitated by issues of urgent importance connected with the plans of SEPLAT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY PLC to enter and/or sign a Memorandum of Understanding with SAPELE/OKPE COMMUNITY under OML 41 (Uton Flow Station).
‘’We act as Solicitors / Legal Advisers to Abigborodo Community of Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, and on whose behalf, mandate and firm instructions we write this open letter. The community known as Abigborodo Community is an Oil Producing Community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria’’.
Signed by Shedrack M. Demaki ESQ, the community said the Land which serves as host to UTON FLOW STATION (Shell Road) and other Oil Facilities under OML 41 being operated by Seplat Development Company PLC, belonged to Abigborodo Community
‘’The Land which serves as host to UTON FLOW STATION (Shell Road) and other Oil Facilities under OML 41 being operated by SEPLAT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY PLC., belongs to the ABIGBORODO COMMUNITY. The ABIGBORODO COMMUNITY are the owners of all that large expanse of land which traverses from Utonyatsere through Gbekoko axis which is currently hosting the UTON FLOW STATION at Shell Road, and other Oil Facilities currently being operated and serviced by the NIGERIAN PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD., through SEPLAT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY PLC’’.
According to the community, ‘’the said land is an ancestral heritage of the Abigborodo Community’’.
‘’They have been exercising proprietary and customary rights over the said land without any form of interference and opposition from any person or group of persons until recently when, the Sapele/Okpe Community most notably one Mr. Augustine Arieaja trespassed on the said land which necessitated the Government of Delta State to look into the cause of the said trespass and uprising over the said land’’.
The community frowned at Seplat for refusing to address issues raised in earlier letter.
‘If you can recall that a letter dated 9th July, 2020 addressed to the Managing Director of the SEPLAT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY PLC., wherein your office was also sent a copy and receipt of same was acknowledged; it might interest you to know that, several weeks after the receipt of the said letter, the Managing Director of the SEPLAT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY PLC., has still not deemed it necessary or fit to acknowledge same or address the issues raised in the said letter by ABIGBORODO COMMUNITY’’.