Indigenes of the seven Itsekiri host communities under the aegis of OML 150 Communities’ Consultative Forum have issued a 21-day ultimatum to Conoil Producing Limited, operators of OML 150 Obodo Field in Warri, Delta State, to immediately open negotiations with their constituted leaders or be ready to quit the area.
Meanwhile, to show seriousness over their demands, hundreds of the residents of the communities who on Friday embarked on a peaceful protest at the Conoil Obodo Field, crippling its activities, had vowed not to quit the platform until the oil firm recognised their legal and duly-elected representatives.
In a statement, the Chairman of the Forum, Hon. Monday Agbeyi, who condemned the brazen impunity by the company, advised it to stop its disregard for the authority of the Palace of Olu of Warri which had stepped in to reaffirm that the Agbeyi-led executive is the only constituted body representing the seven host communities of OML 150 and so should open negotiations with it.
He said: “It is saddening that the management of Conoil Producing Limited still want to undermine the authority of the Palace of Olu of Warri and the seven host communities of the OML 150 by refusing to open discussion with the legally-constituted executive of the forum led by Comrade Monday Agbeyi.”
According to him: “It beats our imagination that after the peace meeting organised by the Palace of Olu of Warri on Thursday, June 17, 2021, which was duly attended by Conoil Producing Limited and the Comrade Monday Agbeyi-led Executive was duly presented as the right executive to oversee the affairs of the Forum, the company still maintains its old-fashioned stand.
“The impunity has grown to the extent that the management of the company no longer has any iota of regard for the landlord communities, the Palace of Olu of Warri and the Delta State Government in spite of the various letters written by the trio to ensure dialogue for a peaceful co-existence, the company seems to be adamant and resort to divide-and-rule strategy,” Agbeyi said.
The protesters who wielded placards emblazoned with different inscriptions have vowed not to leave the premises and allow any operations until the oil firm listened to them and start immediate engagement with the Agbeyi-led executive.