By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – House of Representatives yesterday ordered immediate stoppage of oil exploration by Sterling Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company in Ogwu Ikpele in Ogbaru, Anambra State.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion titled “Urgent Need for Intervention in the illegal oil Exploration, Environmental Pollution, Epidemic Outbreak and Communal Clash as a result of Operation of Sterling Global Oil Company at Ogwu Ikpele in Ogbaru Federal Constituency of Anambra State”, sponsored by Hon. Chukwuma Onyema at Wednesday plenary.
In his debate, Onyema who noted that Ogwu Ikpele which boasts of huge deposits of crude oil shares boundary with Omoku, Okpai and Uchi in Rivers State stated that the oil exploration by the company was illegal and was at variance with the operational agreement in compliance with extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said: “The House notes Ogwu Ikpele in Anambra State with huge deposit of crude oil shares boundary with Omoku, Okpai and Uchi in Rivers State;
“Also notes that the people of Ogwu Ikpele and environs in particular, and Ogbaru in general are predominantly farmers and fishermen;
“Aware that unknown to the people of Ogwu Ikpele, Sterling Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company is operating in their lands without Environmental Impact Assessment, Baseline Survey, Social- Economic Impact Assessment and Corporate Social Responsibility
“Informed that the Oil Company has no site liaison office in Ogwu Ikpele or in any other place known to the people and its representative scheduled meetings with the people of Ogwu Ikpele only in hotels
“Concerned that the activities of the oil company are causing environmental, air and water Pollution in the area, thereby resulting in outbreak of respiratory tract infections, cholera, water borne diseases, costal erosion and destruction of the ecosystem
“Also concerned that the management of the oil company is instigating communal clashes capable of leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties in Ogwu Ikpele community and its environs
“Urges Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company to cease operations in Ogwu Ikpele pending the visit by the committees”.
The House therefore mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Environment and Habitat to visit the community and the exploration sites of the Sterling Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company at Ogwu Ikpele in the constituency to ascertain the true situation.
The Committees were given three weeks within which conclude its assignment and report back to the House for further legislative input.