Landlords in Isoko,community disagree over MoU with Agip
Some landlords, whose land hosts the Agip Oil exploration in Oleh, Isoko South Local Council Area of Delta State, have disagreed with the Community Development Committee (CDC) over a restraining order in the memorandum of understanding with the company.
In a statement, counsel to the landlords, Richard Akpoghalino, said: “The current Chairman of the CDC, Johnson Ossoh, who was appointed by the Odiologbo of Oleh community has for over a decade, turned his back against members of the nine families.”
Akpoghalino stressed that AGIP pipelines run across the land of 37 families in Oleh, adding that nobody knows to whom the annual benefit from the pipelines should be paid.
According to the statement, land in Oleh community is not owned by the community, but by the individual families through inheritance.They urged the Ministry of Environment to correct the MoU, which had restrained them from dealing directly with the oil company.
The statement reads: “Under the Isoko native laws and customs, as applicable to Oleh community, every transaction bordering on land must require the consent of the head of the family to remain valid.
“This age-long respected tradition is gradually being swept under the carpet upon the discovery of crude oil and gas by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) on the farmlands belonging to the nine families in Oleh community.”
The statement further explained that in some other communities where crude oil and gas had been discovered in Isoko, the landowners play a vital role and have their benefits in the drilling activities clearly spelt out in the MoU.
The nine landlords explained that some community leaders have been frustrating their efforts to reflect the new leadership with the Agip Oil in Okpai Gas plant.
According to them, Agip told them that they only recognised the CDC and not individual landowners.But the CDC chairman, Ossoh explained that that contrary to the landlords’ claims, the contents of the MoU have been duly complied with.
He said it was the overzealousness among the families of the nine landlords that was responsible for the altercations.To justify their relevance, the aggrieved nine said: “A faction of the nine landlords sometime in 2016, registered their displeasure and demanded that the Ossoh-led faction should step down as chairman of the CDC, having occupied the position for more than a decade.”The statement further explained that it was the conflict at that time that led to the arrest of some factional members of the committee by the police.
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