Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday dismissed the insinuation that it planned to pay N36 billion compensation allegedly due to Alesa-Eleme community in Rivers State as royalty for playing host to its Port Harcourt Refining Company.
NNPC said in a statement from its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, that such report was a hoax which originated from a traditional ruler regarded as a claimant to the Alesa-Eleme traditional stool.
It said the said traditional ruler went to town with the fake story after a purported meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, adding that it has checked with Kachikwu to confirm that there was no such meeting at which he made the promise of a compensation payment to the community.
NNPC said the story was fabricated to cause disharmony between it and Alesa-Eleme community which it said has being a good host to it.
The corporation said that through the years, the refinery had enjoyed cordial relations with all the 10 communities in Eleme where it is located, including Alesa Eleme and Alade Eleme through an existing Joint Community Relations Committee (JCRC).
NNPC said the JCRC, comprising representatives from the various interest groups of the community, had been relating with the management of the refinery on a sustained basis for creation and execution of development projects and needs of the communities.
It asked the community members to discountenance the reported plan to pay out N36 billion compensation as there was no such approval or payment to any entity.