Some oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region have accused officials of Chevron Nigeria Plc of conniving with some leaders of the communities to deprive the people of the entitlements from the oil company.
The communities in the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri Southwest LGA in Delta State, which spoke under the auspices of Egbema-Gbaramatu Justice and Equity Forum, made the allegation yesterday in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP.
In the document, they denied claims by the outgoing chairman of the Egbema/Gbaramatu Community Development Council [EGCDC], Mr. Edmund Doyah-Tiemo, that the community was making it difficult for Chevron to discharge its obligations to the community.
The communities were reacting to an interview granted by the outgoing chairman, where he said a major crisis was looming as a result of the inadequate funding of the communities by Chevron. They averred that the imminent crisis would stem from the dubious activities of the chairman and his collaborators in Chevron Plc.
The statement signed by leaders of the communities, including Chief Jefrey Ojogun of Benikurukuru community, Mr Christopher Orugho of Kenyangbene community, and Chief Intelligent Ojuyaina of Kokodiagbene Community among others, read in part:
"While it is true that fresh violence looms within the Egbema/Gbaramatu kingdoms in Warri North and Warri South West LGA of Delta State respectively, the unfolding dangerous scenario, an imminent bloodbath which might be unprecedented if not urgently checked, is not propelled by Chevron's inadequate funding of the EGCDC. It is basically as a result of the determination of Mr. Doyah-Tiemo and a few others in the EGCDC to turn the commonwealth of the communities to a private estate.
"To put the records straight, we wish state briefly, a build-up of events to the present frightening dimension and avail the undiscerning public an insight into how some top officials of Chevron Nigeria Ltd, for reasons of parochial interests, had over the years connived with a few individuals from the Egbema and Gbaramatu kingdoms to shorthange a majority of the inhabitants of the beneficiary communities in the handling of funds provided by the company for host community development projects."
"In doing so, the Chevron officials went further and displayed a brazen insensitivity to the security implications of their actions, when, in 2011, they supported the manipulation of the communal platform through which funds from the company to the two kingdoms were channeled, from the Egbema/Gbaramatu Central Development Committee [EGCDC] to Egbema/Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation at the Corporate Affairs Commission [CAC], the statutory agency for registration and recognition of companies and other organizations in Nigeria.
"It is indeed disheartening and worrisome that despite several formal complaints by well-meaning individuals and groups from Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms urging Chevron Nigeria Limited to withdraw its official recognition and dealings with a self-imposed group of individuals and collaborate with the entire members of the communities towards the election/appointment of a new EGCDC in accordance with the subsisting three year tenure arrangement, the company has refused to come to terms on the security implications of its provocative and divisive activities, thereby threatening the eerie peace achieved by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the volatile Niger Delta region barely three years ago".