Oil producing communities from Ilaje local government area of Ondo state, on Sunday vowed to shut down operations of all oil related activities in the area if the state government failed to reverse its decision in dissolving oil related committees in the area.
The communities which include: Ogungbeje, Ayetoro, Oretan, Obe-Nla, Ode Ugbo, Lepe, Ojumole, Ikorigho, Yonre, Beku, Odunoyinbo, Ugbonla and Erunona among others described the action of the state government in dissolving all oil related committees as capable of causing major crisis in the area.
The communities under the AICECUM, Obe Confederation and ASICOPC said the action of government has created tension in the communities
According to them, the government under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) did not have any role to play in the composition and dissolution of oil bearing committees.
The office of the governor in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr Segun Ajiboye has recently announced the dissolution of oil bearing communities in the state.
The associations, said they have been brought together under one umbrella body to represent the interest of the Ilaje-Ugbo Oil and Gas Producing Communities, to represent their interest particularly as it relates to their interfacing with oil servicing companies and other related oil and gas concerns operating in Ilaje-Ugbo communities.
Speaking on behalf of the communities, the President of Coastline Integrity Forum of Ugbo-Ilaje, Mr Wole Ogungbeje, and the Secretary, Mr Samuel Ebiwanon and Publicity Secretary, Dapo Ojajuni warned the government to stay off their association or face the wrath of the people.
The group specifically accused the state government of pitching its tent with Mahin and Ese Odo people against Ugbo with the appointment of officers into the board of the State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) and the purported dissolution of oil related committees
They said, “If Ugbo kingdom does not have a place of priority in this government; we are going to put everything on hold. We will make sure that the multinationals will not listen to Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the governor. He should know that issue that borders on oil is on exclusive list. If the State cannot resolve this, we will have no alternative than to fall back to Federal Government.”
The committees which have the backing of the people of the Ugbo Kingdom said “we know how to organize, dissolve and constitute our own associations as at when due.
“The statement that includes Ilaje and Eseodo is a statement that is capable of causing crisis. Ilaje oil bearing communities have nothing to do with Apoi. If Akeredolu wants the Apoi to be recognized, they should learn.”
“The sanctity of the Global Memorandum of Understanding must be protected. The Ugbo oil bearing communities are not going to fold our arms and allow our rights to be taken. We are ready to spill our blood on this issue.”
The communities stated further in the statement, “the Ilaje-Ugbo Oil and Gas producing communities of Ondo state operate under the umbrella bodies which are duly recognized and endorsed by the people and leadership of Ilaje-Ugbo Oil gas producing communities and which association/bodies are duly registered incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja.”
“It is pertinent to state that the said purported dissolution of Oil related committees is a clear indication of total lack of understanding of oil representation in Ondo state as Ilaje-Ugbo has never been in partnership with any other constituency or any other local Government with regards to oil relationship with oil Companies operating in Ondo State.”