OML 30: IYC accuses oil coy of ‘divide and rule’ tactics

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Elo Edremoda, Warri

 

President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare (Esq.), has accused Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL), operators of oil mining lease (OML) 30 of initiating a “divide and rule,” policy, in order to put some host community leasers in compromising positions.

Omare also called on members of the National Assembly to investigate HEOSL’s conduct against its host communities.

In a statement issued to newsmen, the IYC president disclosed that shortly after its press briefing last week, the company on Saturday, met with some leaders of its host communities in Lagos, where it agreed to pay some of its indebtedness to the contractors who are leaders of the Global Memorandum of Understanding and Clusters.

The statement which reiterated the call for the revocation of the oil company’s operating license over “incompetence” to operate the OML, emphasized that host areas to the firm are experiencing untold hardship due to its refusal to pay local contractors for jobs executed for as long as three years ago.

Warning that companies that adopted the divide and rule tactics in the Niger Delta region ended up selling off their assets, he noted that the people will resist the move, as in the past.

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“It is common knowledge in the host communities to Heritage and close watches of events relating to Heritage management of OML 30, that inability to pay contractors and discharge contractual obligations have become a common feature in the affairs of Heritage which has led to protest against the company both at its Warri and Lagos offices.

“This response was another divide and rule strategy which has become common with Heritage operations in OML 30. Instead of Heritage to take steps to pay all the contractors their indebtedness irrespective of the contractors status in their host communities, it decided to only address their indebtedness to a few leaders in their host communities so as to compromise them from speaking on the matter.

“We wish to remind Heritage that companies that have adopted divide and rule tactics as a company policy in the past in the Niger Delta region have ended up selling their assets because in the end the people would resist them. This would surely be the case with Heritage if it continues with this same divide and rule strategy.

“The host communities to Heritage are experiencing an unprecedented poverty because of Heritage deliberate refusal to pay local contractors while transporting the money realised from their communities to other parts of the country and abroad.

“We also call on the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives to investigate the oppressive conducts of Heritage against its host communities. We are ready to bring the facts and evidence against them in such a public hearing.”

Meanwhile, the management of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited has clarified that verified local contractors are being paid, while others remain other investigation.

The management of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL) has clarified that it has been paying its local contractors whose jobs had been verified, while some others were being investigated.

The company, also in a press release, said the youths claim on its incompetence and refusal to pay indigenous contractors, does not reflect the true situation.

HEOSL, stressed that it only manages the assets for the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and Shoreline Natural Resources Limited, adding that when it took over operations of OML 30, in 2017, the firm inherited huge debts and ongoing contracts.

“The company noticed that while some of the invoices could be verified, there were some that could not. Despite this, the company went ahead and commenced with the payment of verified invoices while investigating others.

“The volume of the debts necessitated the development in conjunction with contractors of payment plans for installment payments. Since then, the company has been steadily reducing the debts according to the agreed payment plans,” parts of the statement read.