By Temi Boyo
WARRI/Nigeria: Leaders of Opuama community in Delta state, have said their community will not sign the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) in agreement of operations at Opuama flow station involving Tsekelewu, 96 other communities, Elcrest-Z-(P) NIG. LTD, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, Total PLC and Agip Petroleum.
The refusal contravened an earlier directive by the Ministry of Oil and gas, and the Ministry of Justice, that a Global Memorandum of Understanding be signed by Opuama.
Revealing this during a meeting with the Warri North Council Chairman, Hon. Aduge Okorodudu, who summoned them after meeting with those from Tsekelewu community on Monday, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the governor, Hon. Spencer Okpoye, said that the community had unanimously agreed that the GMOU would not be signed by them.
Hon. Okpoye who is also a leader of Opuama community said that the reason for the community refusal was that most GMoUs that the community had with other companies, especially Chevron, never favoured them but gave the companies the leverage to exploit the instead.
According to him, the Opuama people were are unwilling to make that move again owing to the many short falls in agreement.
He affirmed that without any working document of such, Elcrest -Z-(P) NIG LTD, and the other companies had done a lot for the community, and other communities around their areas of operation.
The SSA enumerated some of the projects to include building of a cottage hospital, water project, engagement of 30 persons in their operations, and about to award an electricity contract that would connect electricity from the flow station to serve Opuama, Tsekelewu, and other communities.
According to him, all these would not have been possible if there was a signed GMoU.
Chief James Ukolor, another Opuama leader, remarked that both communities were independent and had their various executives but had always agreed on a fifty/fifty sharing formula for any benefit, ranging from award of scholarships, jobs from companies, adding that there were documents to back his claim.
On his part, the council boss urged them to go back to their people and deliberate more, saying a meeting would be scheduled next week Monday, where executives from both communities, representative from the king (Egbema kingdom), Hon. Spencer Okpoye and some leaders, would be present to bring the GMoU issue to a logical conclusion.
Present at the meeting were the Vice Chairman of the Council, Hon. Sunny Abilo, Secretary to the local government, Mr Victor German, Head of Personnel Management, Mr. Douglas Akambe, DPO, Koko Police Station, Mr Friday Ekundayo and the State Security Service Officer, Warri North Office, Mr Ben Koche.