INFORMED that the Federal Government granted Oil Prospecting licences 915 & 916 to Orient Petroleum Resources to explore and exploit the natural oil resources located in an area historically owned by the Igala-speaking communities located in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, viz, Igga, Ojjor and Ogurugu; and Odeke and Echeno communities in Ibaji LGA of Kogi State, with peripheral lay-over to AguleriOtu, in Anambra State.
FURTHER INFORMED that the whole acreage area of OPL915 & 916 has been the farmland and pot-marked by the numerous fishing ponds belonging to Igga, Ojjor, Ogurugu communities in Uzo-Uwani LGA and Odeke and Echeno communities in Ibaji Local Government of Kogi State, with each community knowing its boundaries.
NOTES that since the granting of the prospecting licence to Orient Petroleum, there has been increased tension between and among the communities which have any direct or tangential contiguity with the location of the Oil Wells.
FURTHER NOTES that President Goodluck Jonathan, had, while commissioning the Orient Petroleum Resources Refinery located in Nsugbe, Anambra Stateon August 30, 2012, without due process, proclaimed Anambra State an oil producing State. When the attention of the then President was drawn to his official mis-talk, he convened a round-table on the issue and after each claimant had made submissions, he directed the National Boundary Commission to determine the boundaries of the oil field as due to the communities.
INFORMED THAT Igga, Ojjor, Ogurugu, the Igala-speaking parts of Uzo-uwani LGA in Enugu State and their language kinsmen in communities in IbajiLGA have always peaceably exercised ownershipand possessory rights over the whole acreage area and, AguleriOtu, the community in Anambra State that is staking any claim, has always been migrant farmers and fishermen, who for a fee paid in kind at the end of harvest, kept the farmlands and fish ponds serviced all year round. Indeed, there is a plethora of customary and colonial court decisions and administrative determinations, plus physical (including educational) and cultural relics specifying the boundaries of the area, as between Igga, Ojjor and Ogurugu Communities and Ibaji.
NOTES THAT the physical proximity of Igga, Ojjor, Ogurugu and IbajiCommunities to the location of the oil wells bears no illusions as to the authentic claims of ownership.
INFORMED that the issue of any community in Anambra State staking any claim to the area became a problem only with the splittinginto two of the Old Anambra State into Enugu and Anambra States in 1991 as no such misunderstanding existed before.
NOTES that communal clashes have become a recurring event in the area with over 50 indigenes of Igga, Ojjor, Ogurugu and Ibaji Communities killed in the spate of hostilities unleashed on them by the claimants from Anambra State.
OBSERVES THAT Orient Petroleum is a Public Company whose majority share holders are indigenes of Anambra State and while we would refrain from taking issues with the company, we would implore them to operate as a neutral prospecting Company and not take sides in the raging controversy over ownership. The Company’s action of deploying soldiers, Police and Vigilante Groups, in cohorts with the Anambra State government, to terrorise and intimidate Igga, Ojjor, Ogurugu andIbaji Communities needs to be reviewed to forestall an escalation of the suspicions and hostilities that have already enveloped the area.
AWARE THATIgga, Ojjor and Ogurugu Communities of Enugu State have exercised extreme restraint in the face of provocation and we will continue to implore all the parties and communities to lay down their arms while the National Boundary Commission determines the appropriate boundaries of all the concerned communities, vis-à-vis, the OPL 915 & 916.
THEREFORE THIS SENATE DO RESOLVE:
- URGE the Federal Government to direct the National Boundary Commission to immediately release its report on the determination of the boundaries of the communities contiguous to OPLs 915 &916.
- URGEIbaji and AguleriOtuCommunities in Kogi and Anambra States to allow peace to reign in the area while the NBC determines the correct boundaries.
- COMMENDIgga, Ojjor and Ogurugu Communities of Uzo-Uwani LGA, Enugu State for abiding to live in peace while the NBC determines the boundaries of the concerned communities contiguous to OPLs 915 & 916.
- RECOGNISE the status of the three claimants, Enugu, Anambra and Kogi States as Oil producing States and all positions accruing thereto shall be rotated among the States pending the determination of the ownership status of the claimant States.
- URGE the Federal Government to ensure that displaced communities are allowed to return to their ancestral lands and to compensate communities that have lost lives,livelihood and properties as result of the precipitate pronouncement of President Jonathan which did not follow due process.