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Delta govt. mediates in face-off between Chevron, Ijaw community

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The Delta State Government has waded into the ongoing face-off between the Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community in Warri North Local Government Area of the state and the Chevron Nigeria Limited.

The state government met with some leaders, elders of the community and representatives of the Chevron on Tuesday at the Government House Annex, Warri.

Fire had broken out on an oil-well belonging to Chevron in the area since April 18.

The development had caused disagreement between the leadership of Polobubo and the company over the identity and location of the facility on fire.

While the community identified it as Ikpalapkala-Bou oil-well, located in the Ijaw community in Delta, Chevron on the other hand said the facility was Ojumale oil-well, located in Ondo state.

The community was represented by the Polobubo (Tsekelewu) National Council (PNC) including National President, Mr Ebilate Mac-Yoroki; the General Secretary, Mr Midwest Kukuru.

Others were: former President of the council, Mr Edmund Tiemo and Mr Dickson Asoki, among others.

Chevron’s management was also represented by Mr Tony Emegere and Mr Happy Appai from the Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) Department of the oil multinational.

The community people said they would resist alleged plan by Chevron to cede parts of their land to their Ilaje neighbours in Ondo state.

Mac-Yoroki, who presented the position of the community at the meeting, expressed displeasure over the attitude and operations of Chevron in recent time.

Mac-Yoroki called on the state government to prevail on the company to address the misdeed it had caused the community since its operation in their land.

He also called for an urgent delineation of the boundaries between the community and Ondo state to avert border crisis.

He alleged that the oil multinational had continued to feed the mass media and other agencies that the fire incident occurred in Ondo state.

According to him, this is unacceptable and we will not succumb to such reckless and unsubstantiated claims.

“Our governor, we are not safe at this point in time when our health and environment are compromised by spontaneous fire incidents, coupled with our land being threatened.

“The entire area here in question is christened Tsekelewu field in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s data base. If you check the federal oil map, there is nothing like Ojumole Oil Field,” he said.

Mac-Yoroki, appealed to the state government to prevail on Chevron to immediately end the inferno on the oil facility.

He also wants the company to evaluate the level of health and environmental damage the fire had done to the community and commence immediate remediation.

Responding on behalf of Chevron, Mr Tony Emegere said the company had been playing safe not to cause a communal crisis between the Ijaw of Polobubo in Delta and the Ilaje of Ondo state.

“We have been dealing with both sides equally, it will not be the duty of Chevron to determine who owned the land on which the facility is located,” Emegere said.

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa was represented by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpor and the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the governor on Intelligence Gathering and Community Development, Capt. Smart Asekutu.

The governor’s representatives, however, promised to report to governor Okowa for appropriate action.

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