HOSTCOM SAGA: CRC/CLO, OML 147 CLUSTER 1 COMMUNITIES PROTEST, DEMAND TO SHUTDOWN PAN OCEAN FLOW STATION
By Sunday Memeh
The CRC, CLO and other members of the HOSTCOM in OML 147 Cluster 1 Communities which comprises of Agbor-Alidinma, Owa-Alidinma, Obianyima, Ekuku-Agbor, Orhonigbe and Ndemili Communities have embarked on a peaceful protest, demanding the shutting down of Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Limited, situated at Owa-Alidinma Community, as the company’s management could not fulfill her promises to them.
Prior to the peaceful demonstration which took place on Wednesday, April 3, 2023, they said efforts have been made by the CRC/CLO of OML 147 Cluster 1 Communities to officially write letters to the Management of Pan Ocean Oil Corporation, the Delta State Ministry of Oil & Gas, the Ministry of Justice, the Commissioner of Police, and indeed, all stake-holders that the host of the six Communities of OML 147, to notify them of their intentions to do so, since all efforts made to resolve their grievances have failed.
The complete disregard of the terms and conditions of the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) between Pan Ocean and the host Communities soon after it was adopted by both parties. They include the following:
- Project Fund (Article 10.1b): Pan Ocean has only paid for one year out of 4 years.
- Employment (Article 10.1a & 10.3a, b): The community has never been consulted in the company’s direct employment exercises and as a result, Pan Ocean has no direct employees from the cluster communities.
- Communities Stipends (Article 10.1g): It is on record that the stipends paid to the communities and the community representatives by Pan Ocean are the least paid to any host community in Nigeria. During the GMoU negotiations, Pan Ocean had pleaded with the communities for the understanding of the circumstances of the company but with a resolution that the same shall be reviewed after 2 years. It is almost 4 years and this has not been adjusted plus the fact that the payments are not even regular.
- Company Scholarship (Article 10.1g): This annual exercise has only been done once. Even when the communities have requested that the scholarship awardees of the previous year be allowed to enjoy it for another year, Pan Ocean is still foot-dragging
- Contractors (Articles 13 & 15): Up to this moment, Pan Ocean has not registered a single Community Co-Anchor through the due process though there are contractors doing the jobs meant for Community Contractors. And there is no FTO agreement between the communities and those contractors. Thus, the communities have. been shortchanged both ways.
- The Community Workers employed by Pan Ocean and her Contractors are not fairly treated as many of them earn less half of what their non-indigene counterparts are paid. They do not have appointment letters. Some of the communities have just one community worker in the Flow station. All these must be corrected and every worker must be given their appointment letter.
- Capacity Building Program (Article 10.4)
(a.) Every year Pan Ocean is supposed to organize 5 Youth training programs for the youths in each of the communities. This has never been done for any of the communities.
(b.) The annual Graduate Trainee scheme for 10 fresh graduates has been carried out only once. Though the one-year programme could be extended for another year, the only set got their program terminated after 12 months with no replacement. This was against the community’s advice that the GTs should continue until another set is ready to replace them
(c.) The company is expected to provide technical assistance for the establishment of model cooperative farms within the Cluster. None is in place after 4 years.
- Right Of Way (Article 12)
The contract for the surveillance and clearing of pipeline ROW is reserved for the domain communities. Pan Ocean gave out the contracts to outsiders. Apart from denying the communities the financial benefits, it is common knowledge that the unkept pipelines are the routes of kidnappers and herdsmen that have been terrorizing the communities.
- Environmental Protection (Articles 9.8 & 211) The corporate social responsibility of Pan Ocean is zero Workers and visitors maneuver their ways through deep and dangerous gullies to get to the Flow station. The road from Ndemili to Obiayinma is completely cutoff by erosion and all entreaties for Pan Ocean to effect repairs have so far fallen on deaf ears.
- Awards and Sanctions (Article 24): Each of the communities is entitled to 1.5% of their Project Fund per annum for 4 years running nothing has been done.
1.We have made references to the relevant potions of the GMoU to buttress our grievances. We demand that Pan Ocean returns to the terms and conditions of the GMoU signed and religiously implement all without exception
- Immediate upward review of communities’ stipends and community workers’ salaries.
- Pan Ocean should implement the PIA as stipulated by law and stop buying time to the detriment of the Host communities Meanwhile, the Flow station should remain closed with effect from May 3, 2023 until all our demands are met. The management of Pan Ocean is by this notice advised to ensure a peaceful closure of activities in the Flow station. The communities are committed to taking back what belongs to them in the face of total disregard of the company’s responsibilities to the host communities. It is common knowledge that we the communities are peace loving and we expect that you will respect our rights to ask for our Right. Pan Ocean is therefore answerable for any harm done to any of the persons sent to carry out this duty and of course, the company will bear full cost of this exercise.
It is our hope that you comply and please accept the assurances of our warm regards.
Speaking in an interview with Ika Weekly Newspaper Reporter during the protest, the Chairman, Host Communities in OML 147 Cluster 1 Communities, Chief Engr. H. E. Njoetene, the Ali Dein Agu of Agbor Kingdom stated that their major reason for embarking on the protest is to tell Pan Ocean to shut down her Flow Station.
Chief Njoetene who hail from Agbor-Alidinma Community in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, said Pan Ocean Oil Corporation has been in full operation in Owa-Alidinma Community, Ika North-East since the year 2018 without single benefits to the Host Communities involved. He said they signed GMOU with Pan Ocean Oil Corporation in the year 2019, saying that till date, the company has not done anything with regards to the things they agreed on in the GMOU.
He said the Host Communities have lost all their natural resources because of the Oil company. He noted that the access road to Pan Ocean Oil Corporation was very good before the arrival of the oil company, saying but today, the road is no more motorable, not even single employment benefits have been given to them.
He said they want Pan Ocean to shut down her Flow Station and stop operation immediately, except they implement the GMOU signed with them.
He concluded by appreciating all members of the OML 147 Cluster 1 Communities who turned up for the peaceful protest for making efforts to do so.
COMMUNIQUE REACHED AFTER A MEETING WITH THE PAN OCEAN OIL COMPANY
- Project-Fund – 2 weeks
- Scholarship – Tuesday 9th May, 2023.
- Names of Graduate Trainee Selection -Almost completed.
- Seven (7) Candidates Graduate Trainees have been selected and test would be for the 3 remaining slots.
- Upward review of workers’ salaries would be done in 2 months’ time
- Human capacity building would commence soon, awaiting Pan Ocean management approval
- Clearing of Right of Way (ROW) will commence in 4 weeks and given to the communities
- All the Community workers must maintain two 2-week rotation.
- Two workers will be added to the gardens.
- The contractors would be directed by Pan Ocean to issue Appointment Letters and company ID Card must be given to all the community workers.
- Ndemili/Obianyinma Road project will commence in 2 weeks’ time.
- The two vacant positions of the operation staffs will be replaced by community workers with the ongoing test.
- Award and sometimes arrears would be paid after the payment of the project fund.