Delta: Fresh Crisis Brews As Host Communities Cripple NPDC Operations
SAN FRANCISCO, July 02, (THEWILL) – Tension is mounting jn Diebiri-Batan and Ajuju in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State as Ijaw host communities on Wednesday disrupted operations of Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) .
The disruption was the highpoint of a lingering feud between the communities and the oil firm over a multimillion Naira dredging contract which the communities have accused the oil firm of awarding in favour of a crony company.
The aggrieved communities, in a document made available to THEWILL, accused NPDC of awarding contracts in the area without due process only to friends and associates thus undermining the Local Content Act which encourages local contractors to participate in the downstream oil sector.
In the document, the community alleged that the company falsely obtained an FTO (Freedom to Operate) agreement from the communities by falsely claiming that local contractors were involved in the bidding for the contentious dredging work.
In the document, the community leaders said: “In the process obtaining FTO, NPDC representatives told us that communities based contractors was also invited for the bidding process and that they did not scale through with the bidding process. But it was discovered that they were not actually invited, therefore the FTO stands null and void.
“The award of the contracts without due process is unacceptable to us; it is pertinent to state here that NPDC as a Nigerian-company, whose obligation is to respect the Local Content Act, awarded contracts without due process to their friends and associates, neglecting community-based contractors.”
In another letter to the Managing Director of NPDC intimating him of the anomaly and signed by Chief Samson Amakubukro and Mr Albert Amakubukro, leaders of thought of Diebiri-Batan as well as Deacon Wellington Igetei, among others, accused the oil firm of insensitivity to the plight of the community over spill from its operation in the area.
While saying that they have been the ones restraining the youths who have been boiling over the development, the leaders specifically called on NPDC to reverse the dredging contract awarded to one Iterlen Nigerian Services Limited because, according to them, the process lacked competitive bidding process and violated the Local Content Act.
While urging the Managing Director of NPDC to wade into the matter before it snowballed into a major crisis in the area, the communities however reminded NPDC that; “since you took over operations of OML 42 in 2012 to date, you have not embarked on one developmental project in our community in spite of all MoUs signed with your organisation.”
They also demanded that the company should pay all pending compensation for oil spills resulting from the company's operation in the area as well as carry out a clean-up of the environment in line with the Federal Government's environmental standard and international best practices.