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Anambra Assembly worried over crude oil exploration, theft in Ogwuikpele

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BY SUNNY A. DAVID, AWKA

Anambra State House of Assembly has expressed deep concern over the effect of crude oil exploration and theft in Ogwuikpele Community, Ogbaru Local Government Area by Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, (SEEPCO).

During an oversight visit to the Community, the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Honourable Chidiebele Ibemeka, said the visit provided an opportunity for legislators to witness firsthand the challenges faced by the community in the region and the operations of the company.

The Lawmaker were confronted with the stark reality of environmental degradation, pollution, and socio-economic hardships caused by oil exploration activities in Ogwuikpele as residents shared their grievances, highlighting the adverse effects on their health, agriculture, and overall quality of life.

Speaking during the visit , the Committee Chairman and Member representing Njikoka Constituency One, Honourable Ibemeka, voiced the Assembly’s disappointment at the company’s disregard for its financial obligations to the state government, and explained that the company not only deprived the State of crucial revenue, but also undermined its ability to provide essential services and corporate social responsibilities to the host Community.

The Lawmaker discovered that the company does not have metering system to account for the resources they are drilling, stating that the company’s gas flaring control is low, thereby killing economic trees and increasing temperature, while they transport products outside the State through underground pipe into batches without any accounting system as well as no employment of any Anambra indigene.

The Majority Leader of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Honourable Ikenna Ofodeme, thanked Ndi Ogwuikpele for being supportive and calm, assuring them that the Lawmaker resolved to initiate legislative measures aimed at promoting environmental protection and ensuring corporate accountability with the company in order to safeguard the interests of Anambra residents and preserve the state’s natural resources for future generations.

Fielding questions from the Lawmaker, the Base Manager of SEEPCO, Mr. Kylian Mahtre, who said he joined the company two years ago, noted that over the years, there has been exportation of crude oil and pure gas to Delta State before he joined the company which has eight oil drilling sites in the State.

The Base Manager confirmed that they have no metering system to determine the quantity of oil and gas exported outside the Community and said drilling and exportation are being done continuously in that area, while two and half badges of oil are being loaded daily.

The President General of Ogwuikpele Community, Mr. Sunday Madupue noted that the impact of activities of the company had resulted in erosion which according to him is already sacking homesteads while oil spillage had contaminated the water bodies which in turn made their farmlands unproductive and aquatic life unsustainable.

On his part, Mr Emmanuel Anene from Ogwuikpele, said the company has refused to fulfill its corporate social responsibility to the Community.

On 29 February 2024, the company sort approval to lay eighteen inches Pipe from Imo State through Anambra to Delta States, but during the oversight, it was discovered that the company had been laying pipes, without any approval.

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