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Community Insists On Knowing 30% Investment, Reinvestment Development Fund Whereabouts . . . Frowns At Divertional Drilling

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   by Pearl Harold

An oil and gas bearing community has called on Aradell Holdings PLC to reveal the whereabouts of its development trust fund 30% quota.

The community, Ogbele in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria , one of the hosts to Aradell Holdings PLC, formerly Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Plc, lamented the high handedness and secrecy of management of its earmarked money for investment and reinvestment purposes.

It made the complaints during an orientation meeting on community needs assessment sensitization between the community and management of the company, Thursday, May 30, 2014 at Ogbele, describing the style as lopsided, insensitive and unacceptable, where community would not know type or nature of investment held on its behalf nor how much accrued to it over the years.

The community through its General Secretary, Comrade Solomon Azubuike Oyagiri, stated that it had resolved to adopt a prototype of 50/30/20 – Communities, Host Principal Landlords and Pipeline Landlords percentage ratio formula of sharing the PIA approved OPEX Host Community Development Trust.

On the community needs, he listed new structures, equipment and establishment of oil and gas related vocational and technical institutions, overseas scholarships to train the youths for human capital development.

Others are; provision of pipe borne water, hosting of a post environmental impact assessment to ascertain the socioeconomic implications of Aradell’s operational activities, pollution and environment control, amongst others.

The community warned against the company’s continuous use of diversional drilling, with its attendant economic and social rights denial, insisting that it should properly locate and drill the right coordinates as established in the company’s geological survey plan.

Responding, the Community Relations Manager, Blessing Okpowo reiterated his earlier assurance to the people that the narrative will soon be changed.

He explained that a wrong of more than two decades cannot be corrected within a short time, and pleaded that the people bear and trust that it will not be business as usual to shortchange them.

He hinted that the PIA has taken care of most needs of the host Communities.

Also speaking, the Board of Trustees, BoT Chairman, Chief Fred Sawo assured the people that only projects initiated and approved by them will get nod of the BoT to sign out the project needed money.

Representatives of the State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Obodokwe Chukwuma, and the Executive Chairman, Comr. John Ekiye, enjoined the community to create an enabling environment for easy flow of operations of the company, and urged it to do the needful to engender development to the host community.

Chukwuma warned members of BoT, especially the chairman to be diligent, prudent and judicious in the management of the 3% development trust fund.

Expatiating on the reason for the day’s meeting, Aradell Holdings consultant, Dr. Banji Adekoya said the needs assessment sensitization is a fulfillment of the PIA that encourages that all projects be initiated by the host communities.

Adekoya stated that after the community initiates a project, the consulting firm will look into it and advise on the viability and workability before its implementation and execution.

He urged the people to always go for projects that would engender human capital development and that would ameliorate the people’s suffering.

Earlier, the Community Custodian, His Royal Highness, Eze Prince Chiwhetu Ezegwogwo, JP, AP, warned of dire consequences for those that always join the company to betray the community.

Ezegwogwo, who is also a titled Chief, Onwowokwani I of Ekpeye land, posited that except the company does what is expected of it, the needed mutual understanding would not be achieved, averring that all legal issues could be withdrawn without delay if the company starts implementation of its side of the bargain.


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