By Elo Edremoda, Warri
The leadership tussle bedeviling seven host communities of oil mining lease (OML) 150 is currently threatening the operations of Conoil Producing Limited in Delta State.
It was learnt that the Chairman of the Communities Consultative Committee headed by Mr. Charles Omadeli’s tenure expired in December 2020, with a new executive led by Monday Agbeyi put in place and have been claiming leadership of the committee leaving Conoil confused as to which to deal with as the representatives of the host communities.
The crisis however took a new twist as the seven host communities, which make up the OML 150 field, petitioned the oil company not to have any dealing with either of the executives claiming leadership of the committee.
The petition, dated May 31, 2021 and titled ‘A call on Conoil Producing Limited to forthwith desist from dealing or further dealing with illegal and self acclaimed representatives of the OML 150 communities consultative committee,’ said there will be dire repercussions should the company fail to heed their warnings.
The petition, written by their counsel, Felix O. Owumi (Esq.) and addressed to the Managing Director of Conoil stated thus: “We are solicitors to the concerned indigenes of OML 150 communities and we write to you at their behest. Our clients are indigenes of the seven host communities which make up the OML 150 field, wherein your company carries out it’s oil mining operations.
“Our clients’ attention has been drawn to the activities of Charles Omadeli and Monday Agbeyi both of whom has been parading themselves as factional chairmen of the OML 150 communities consultative committee.
“It is worthy to note that both Charles Omadeli and Monday Agbeyi led committees are illegally constituted,. They neither have the authorisation of the Olu of Warri, nor the mandate of the good people of the OML 150 communities, and/or represent their collective interest.
“Consequently, the committees are bereft of any statutory authority /capacity to represent the OML 150 host communities, and to enter into any dealings whatsoever with your company on behalf of the host communities.”
The indigenes stressed that all disputes relating to the leadership of the OML 150 communities consultative committee were yet unresolved and that no faction has duly recognised as the authentic leadership of the committee by the appropriate authority.
“Your company is therefore admonished to disregard the claim by both factions as the anointed or authentic committee recognised by the Regent of Warri Kingdom.
“Contrary to the above claim, the Regent of Warri Kingdom has warned the Charles Omadeli and Monday Agbeyi led factions to steer clear of all activities related to and/or concerning the OML 150 field pending amicable resolution of all attendant issues by the appropriate authority,” the petition added.
The host communities therefore warned Conoil Producing Limited to desist from further dealing with the “illegally constituted Charles Omadeli and Monday Agbeyi’s committees, whom are unlawfully parading themselves as factional chairmen of the OML-150 Communities Consultative Committee.
“Take further notice that, any dealings or further dealings with the aforesaid factions by your company on behalf of the OML 150 host communities, is done at your company’s peril, as all accrued entitlements or benefits paid to any of the aforesaid factions shall be demanded and repaid to the authentic committee when inaugurated by the appropriate authority in line with the Forum’s constitution.”