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Bayelsa community serves Aiteo quit notice, indicts ex-minsiter

Opu-Nembe community in Nembe-Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa and host to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Limited have issued a quit notice to the company.

They made the call at a press conference on Saturday after a protest march.

Traditional Rulers and Chiefs wore black to publicize “the death and final burial” of Aiteo.

The leaders accused the firm of economic strangulation, ecological destruction, contract racketeering and corporate wickedness.

Oriango Oruwari, Chairman of the Council of Chiefs, said effective November 14, Aiteo is no longer welcome in their domain.

He decried several oil spills, some of which the National Oil Spill Detection & Response Agency (NOSDRA) is investigating after petitions.

Oruwari regretted that the petroleum hydrocarbon remains uncleared and unremediated since 2019.

“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.

“We declare that the operational license of OML 29 held by Aiteo having expired on the 30th June, 2019, notwithstanding the illegal secretive renewal by the then Minister Ibe Kachikwu, should be relinquished.”

The chairman said the purported renewal of the lease is invalid, and as such, Aiteo was a trespasser, persona non grata in Opu-Nembe and will not be allowed to operate henceforth.

The communities demanded that the federal government-owned Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) take over the operations of OML 29, pending when “a new, competent and community-friendly operator takes over”.

Chief Boumonyo Amakiri, a retired permanent secretary, said it was a very big day for the people.

“You can see all of us wearing black which depicts that something serious has happened. What has happened is to announce the death and burial of Aiteo in Opu Nembe land. Anytime you see the Nembe people wear black, we have lost a rare gem.

“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,” Amakari said.

An Aiteo spokesman told NAN he was not authorized to speak on the development.

The official disclosed that the company is working on a response to the issues raised by the community.

In May 2019, the people of Nembe protested against Aiteo.

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