Crisis Looms In Rivers Community …Over Firms’ Plot To Acquire Lands

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Ubima community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State has raised an alarm over possible breakdown of law and order  following  plan to acquire plots of land by two oil and gas companies in the area.
The President of the Patriotic Body of Ubima (PBU),Igwe Chimankpa Wisdom who spoke to The Tide called on the Rivers State Government and the local government council to come to their aid as the companies are allegedly recruiting youths outside the community to fight the youths of the community who are agitating for their rights.
Wisdom noted that the actions of the companies are about to destroy the existing peace in the community even as the youths  vowed to resist any attempt capable of dispossessing them of their rights, lands and properties.
He explained that the two companies, Allgrace Energy Limited and Elland oil and gas,  oil exploration companies were allegedly planning  to pass through the back door without meeting with the community leaders.
According to him, “the companies have refused to do the needful. They have refused to make their visit and meetings public. They handpicked some people from the community who have conspired with them to shortchange the landlords and the community’’.
“The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),  agreement , etc are not known to the community’’, he said.
Wisdom alleged that the companies’ representatives came into the community, deceived the elders of Omuegbelegbe in omuogorowhor which he claimed  owns gas well ,oil well and access road into signing contracts not given to them till date .
“I feel bad because my family’s interest is not represented in meetings where the matters concerning us are discussed. We are supposed to know if the companies met the state government’s standard for EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for our good healthwise’’, he said.
He vowed that the community will never  tolerate the  threats from the companies, warning that the companies’  mode of operation is capable of causing breach of public peace in the community.
They urged  the companies to steer clear of  their land until the needful is done, stressing that the community wanted her benefits and entitlements  to be fully settled to avoid starvation in the nearest future.
However, when contacted, the representative of Elland Oil and Gas Plc,  Miss Uchenna Osegbo refused to comment on the issue, insisting that she was not permitted to comment on the issue and warned this correspondent never to call her phone line  any more.
The Tide, however, contacted the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Hon Nwoziri Bishop Best who confirmed that the council had intervened on the issue to avert any crisis that may lead to the breakdown of law and order in the area.
Best  noted that the council had arranged  meetings with the community representatives, the Liaison Officers and the companies, but regretted that the companies were not responding.
The Council Boss promised that the council will continue to mediate on the issue and educate those concerns to give peace a chance, stressing that the companies have to know that the area they are working have to be peaceful for better operation.
Meanwhile, The deputy leady of patriotic Youth body Ubima, chibuike okpara  called on the good people of Ubima especially the youths to stand for justice and disregard any propaganda by the companies purported representatives while the Public Relations Officer of the group, CHIJIOKE AZUBUIKE also called on the companies to do the needful and not to neglect the rights of the community/youths as is capable of causing breach of public peace in the community.