By Sylvester Idowu
The people of Ogulagha Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State have threatened to shut down Forcados terminal and other oil facilities in the state over what they claimed as the underdevelopment and marginalisation of the oil-rich kingdom by the federal government.
They alleged that the kingdom, being host to several oil companies, have neither benefitted from any developmental projects nor employment despite their humongous contributions into the country’s economy.
Ogulagha kingdom is host to Forcados Tank Farm and Oil Terminal; Crude Oil Export Loading Platform operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC); South Bank Flow station; Yokiri Crude Oil Flow station; Yokiri Gas Lift Flow station; North Bank Flow station; North Bank Gas Station; Estuary Oil Flow stations I and II; Afremor A and B Flow station, which consist of 56 oil clusters and more than 250 oil wells and 30 gas reservoirs.
Other multinationals and indigenous firms in the Kingdom are Agip, Chevron, Britannia-U, SNEPCO, Oando Plc, which is operating Beniboye Crude Oil Flow station (20) oil wells; Meji Oil Flow station (100) oil wells; Ajapa Floating Crude Oil Flow station (20) oil wells; Bonga Oilfield, OML118, 202,000 barrels of daily crude oil production; Akpo Marginal Field (5) oil wells.
The leaders of the Ogulagha kingdom, however, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari dated July 24, 2020, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY yesterday, lamented that despite the presence of the multinationals and indigenous oil companies in their area, the kingdom lacked developmental facilities to make life worth living for their people.
The people warned that their peaceful disposition to the oil companies has been taken for granted over the years and could no longer be guaranteed in view of growing agitations by the people.
In the letter signed by Chief Igere Williams and 12 others, they bemoaned that Ogulagha kingdom has not benefited in any way through developmental projects or employment from the federal government despite their huge and overwhelming contributions to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Aside underdevelopment of the area, the leaders also frowned at the sidelining of Ogulagha indigenes in the 2020 proposed sale of marginal fields by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and demanded that their indigenes, who are investors, must be given the right of first refusal in the bidding process, noting that the kingdom will not concede any marginal field to non-indigenes.
They further kicked against the naming of Export Processing Zone (Gas Revolution Industrial Park) as Ogidigben Gas Revolution Park, maintaining that the proposed 27,000 hectares is part of Ogulagha kingdom.
“It should be rightly called Niger Delta Gas Revolution Industrial Park, as we would resist any deliberate attempt to shortchange Ogulagha kingdom in the process and execution of the gas project,” they warned.
They appealed to President Buhari to immediately consider indigenes of Ogulagha Kingdom for appointment into federal boards and parastatals such as NDDC, NIMASA, NNPC, Presidential Amnesty Programme, federal universities among others to give them a sense of belonging in the scheme of things.