The Opu-Nembe community in Nembe-Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa and host to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production limited, on Saturday, issued an immediate quit notice to the oil company.
This was made known at a world press conference and protest march by leaders of the community. they accused the oil exploration company of economic strangulation, ecological destruction, contract racketeering and coporate wickedness.
At the protest march, the traditional rulers and chiefs in the kingdom all wore black outfits in what they said was a symbolic way to announce the death and final burial of the company in the community.
Chief Oriango Oruwari, Chairman of the Council of Chiefs, who addressed the press, said the conference served as a quit notice to Aiteo, effective from November 14.
He said: “As earlier stated, the incompetent manner this prized asset is operated had caused several oil spills in our kingdom, some of which are now receiving attention from NOSDRA, following petitions from our lawyers, though they remain uncleared and unremediated over a year after.
“At this rate, the mere remnants of our ecological resources and natural livelihoods may completely vanish during the remaining two and half years of President Muhammdu Buhari’s tenure in office, all thanks to Aiteo.
“Consequently, we declare as follows; that the operational license of OML 29 held by Aiteo having expired on the 30 of June, 2019, notwithstanding the illegal secretive renewal by the the then Minister Ibe Kachikwu, should be religuished.
“That the Federal government owned Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) should take over the operations of OML 29, pending when a new, competent and community friendly operator takes over.
“That any purported renewal of the lease after 30th June, 2019, when the present lease expired is invalid, and as such Aiteo became a trespasser, and persona non grata in Opu Nembe domain and will therefore not be accorded any social license to operate going forward.”
Also speaking, Chief Boumonyo Amakiri Duo, a Retired permanent secretary, said “today is a very big day for the people of Opu Nembe, as you can see all of us wearing black which depicts that something serious has happened, and what has happened is to announce to you the death and burial of Aiteo in Opu Nembe land.
“Anytime you see the Nembe people wear black dress, we have lost a rare gem, we have lost somebody , today is to announce to the world that Aiteo is dead and buried in Opu Nembe land, because of their irregularities because of their fraudulent practices, we are tired and we are no longer in this marriage,” he said.
When contacted, Aiteo’s through one of its spokesmen, said the company is working on a response to the issues raised by the community.