By Prince Okafor
Kunukunuma community in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday, said they will on Friday 10th March, 2017 shut down Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Ltd operation until the community’s status is restored back as Host Community (HOSTCOM).
In a statement, signed by Chairman, Kunukunuma Federated Community, Moses Bebenimibo, said: “When NPDC came on board and invited host communities of OML 42, Kunukunuma community was conspicuously omitted. “When we drew the attention of the NPDC Community Relations Officer, we were told that it was an error and that it will be corrected as soon as possible, but up till now nothing has been done.”
Mr. Bebenimibo stated that, “We wish to state very clearly that we have been host community enjoying all host community benefits from Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC) before NPDC came on board, we don’t know why NPDC has not recognized Kunukunuma as host community in OML 42.
“Since that time till now, series of letters have been written to authorities of NPDC without response. We strongly appeal that our host community status be restored as soon as possible to avoid break down of law
“To this end, the entire women and youths of Kunukunuma community will on Friday 10th March, 2017, protest against NPDC over exclusion of our community as host to OML 42 and we will shut down their operation until our community status as host is restored back,” he said.
The statement also reads that, “We were informed by SPDC community liaison officer that our community was among the list of host communities that was forwarded to your office.
“In view of the above, we want to make our position very clear and it is on record that Kunukunuma community has been treated as host community over the years and has been enjoying same in terms of amenities and community projects executed in our community by SPDC.”
“Furthermore a deep water well project was also approved for the community, contract was awarded, contractor visited site and dialogued with community in preparation to commence work but the project was later cancelled due to failure of a pilot project at another community.
“We have been benefiting annually from Post Primary and Tertiary scholarships award as ‘Areas of Operation Merit Award’ up to 2011/2012 academic year. “Each time SPDC organized People’s Parliament, Open Forums, Kunukunuma community as one of the recognized host had always been invited to attend such meetings,” the statement reads.
When Vanguard contacted NPDC to confirm the story, their lines were unavailable.