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Bayelsa state, Delta state boundary communities bicker over ownership claims, threatens to shutdown oil wells in their region

THE leadership of Ayamasa Federated Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has berated the people of Tuomo Community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta, following the latter’s protests and threats to shut down the Tuomo Location A and B oil wells operated by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, insisting that they have no basis to issue threats as they are not the landowners.

Bayelsa state, Delta state boundary communities bicker over ownership claims, threatens to shutdown oil wells in their region

The Paramount Ruler of Ayamasa Community, HRH (Amananaowei), Chief Moses Oyaseye, and the Chairman of Federated Ayamasa Community, Mr. Bomiegha Okoyi, while reacting to protest by Tuomo community on NAOC- operated oil wells penultimate week, told NDV that the Tuomo community is taking advantage of the cordial, free and fair benevolence Ayamasa community is offering to them.

They explained that the frequent presence of the people of the Tuomo community at the oil wells was due to their proximity to the oil wells, adding that the Appeal and Supreme courts’ judgments in a suit between the two communities were decided in favor of the Ayamasa community.

The leaders of the Ayamasa community, therefore, called on NAOC to ignore the threats and protests of the Tuomo community and stop further dealings with them in respect of the locations and oil wells, adding that the naming of the oil wells after Tuomo does not mean that they are the rightful landowners.

They said: “Ayamasa community is the undisputed major host community to NAOC operating on Tuomo Location A and B oil wells. The location of the oil wells named after Tuomo does not mean that they are the rightful owners of the land where the oil wells are located, the oil wells were named Tuomo because NAOC accessed the oil wells through Tuomo in 1973.

“As a tradition of NAOC and other multinational oil prospecting companies, they named their locations after the initial point of survey.

“For instance, Diebu community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State is named after an oil well in Peremabiri Community because the seismic company surveyed the well from Diebu community.

“Moreover, the two locations are bonafide properties of Ayamasa community. Boundary adjustment by the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not transfer ownership of land to other communities.

Ifeanyi Okowa

“Ayamasa and Tuomo communities have had a series of courts cases since 1974 and all the judgments were in favor of Ayamasa with documents to justify our claims of ownership to Tuomo A and B locations.

“In Appeal Court holden at Benin City and Supreme Court holden at Lagos with suit numbers, CA/B/91/86 and SC.205/1989/ are vivid testifications to our legitimate claims of ownership of the locations.

“Land is an inheritance of forefathers of a particular community whereby Ayamasa community is not an exception, Ayamasa community was formerly in Delta State region before it relocated to the present day Bayelsa State.

“Henceforth, NAOC should not deal with Tuomo despite their threats and protests, whatever benefits – financial or infrastructural – NAOC may have rendered or will render to Tuomo covertly or overtly, NAOC will compensate Ayamasa community in geometrical progression.

“We will not accept this unlawful claim of ownership by Tuomo community and NAOC’s non-transparency in the handling of issues which they are cognizance of.

“The previous Sharing Formula Agreement entered into by the two former  chairmen of the communities should be ignored forthwith, since they are taking advantage of the cordial, free and fair benevolence Ayamasa community is offering them.”

Updated: December 28, 2021 — 11:25 am

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