PIA: Ugborodo Community’s Deadline to Chevron, SPDC Ends Monday, Affirms Confidence in NUPRC

The people of oil rich communities of Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun in Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State have expressed confidence on the stance of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in their quest for both Chevron and Shell to follow due process and the law in the registration of the Host Community Development Trust (HCDT) for the implementation and operationalization of the Petroleum Industry Act, (PIA) in their domain. The communities affirmed their position during an emergency Congress held over the weekend at Ugborodo Town Hall, to appraise the two-week deadline reportedly handed down to Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) by the NUPRC,  to implement its verdict on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as it relates to the Itsekiri host communities.

The deadline is expected to elapse today December 11, 2023.
Deliberating on the issue during the congress, the indigenes were informed of the earlier directive of a meeting held November 28, at the NUPRC headquarters in Abuja, between the Commission, representatives of Chevron Nigeria Limited, the host communities of Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun as well as the representatives of Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III. A leader in Ugborodo Community, Mr. Alex Eyengho, who read the NUPRC’s report to Ugborodo indigenes at the congress, said Chevron Nigeria Limited was asked to convene a meeting to be midwifed by the Warri office of Commission with a view to examining closely how the delineation of Host Communities was conducted, to ensure it was in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. According to him, the NUPRC, in its letter signed by Mr. Benjamin Ogunubi, on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, had directed that membership of the Host Communities Development Trust (HCDT) be amicably thrown open by the host communities, advising all parties to mutually work out a formula to select the nine members in each HCDT.

Parts of NUPRC letter read: “The settlor and the Host Communities, should re-examine the name (s) and unanimously resolve on the name (s) for the HCDT.  That Chevron Nigeria Limited, transmit to the Commission, a report on the implementation of the rulings within two weeks. “The report should be fully signed and certified by representatives of both parties (CNL and the Host Communities).”
Among prominent Ugborodo indigenes that spoke during the well-attended congress were Itsekiri Opinion leader, Chief Ayirimi Emami, former Executive Director of Projects in Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, Prince Perry Atete and Mrs. Oritsematosan Nuko, woman leader of Ugborodo.
Speaking with Journalists shortly after the meeting, Eyengho said the Congress of Ugborodo holds once or thrice a year where Ugborodo indigenes from all over the world return home to discuss issues of importance but “this one is more like an emergency Congress because it’s a one agendum congress which is the issue of proper implementation and operationalization of the PIA as it concerns Ugborodo community and other neighbouring communities.

“So we have met today to give a report to the Ugborodo congress of the journey so far regarding the implementation and operationalization of the PIA in Ugborodo land”, he said. Giving details of what had transpired before now, Eyengho said: “Recall that we had issues with the settlors – that’s the oil companies, particularly Chevron and Shell, where we shut down the Otumara flow station for almost a month which now led to the regulator, that’s NUPRC, summoning a meeting of the protesters, then it was Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun communities and then they also summoned Chevron and Shell. “Sometime in August this year, I think August 30th this year, we met the regulator, NUPRC, they mediated and came out with a resolution giving Chevron and Shell two weeks to do ABCD which they never did. They never followed the resolution. We were very patient. Since August; this is December.

“That shows how patient the Communities are. We were trying to engage Chevron and Shell they were not listening, they were still going ahead with the illegal host communities trust they had constituted so we have to shut down Chevron because that seem to be the only language the oil companies understand – protest, shut down and all of that. “We’re not happy to be shutting down but whereby Chevron and Shell just want to proceed on illegality somebody somewhere or host community somewhere have to say no and that’s what we have done”, he said. In the process of the protest, Eyengho disclosed that the NUPRC called again and summoned “us to Abuja toward November ending and we went to Abuja. Chevron was there but Shell didn’t come. Maybe Shell was not invited because Shell was pretending to be complying but they were not complying even as we speak. “So whatever the last happened in this new directive is that this meeting was presided over by the Chief Executive Officer himself, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe of the NUPRC unlike the first one where he just gave an introduction and his deputy presided. But this time around he presided.

“He was very specific and this is very important for emphasis sake. He made it clear because the palace of Olu of Warri sent two representatives; they were not even allowed to talk because Engr. Komolafe made it manifestly clear that Palaces, traditional rulers, and ethnic groups are unknown to the PIA and regulations guiding it. He was very clear that these are unknown entities. “The only entity known to the PIA as far as its implementation and operationalization is concerned are the host communities and he defined host communities in tandem with the law that for you to be so-called host communities, you are not host to a palace, not host to an ethnic group but host to an oil facility in your land.“That’s it and that put an end to all this talk of PIA meetings holding in palaces, traditional rulers presiding over it, and compiling names and sending it to palaces and all of that is unknown to the law”, he added. 

Source: thisdaylive.com