From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has invited officials of the oil facilities in Owaza area of Abia to a meeting in Umuahia with a view to resolving their misunderstanding with their host communities.
He gave this invitation after his on-the-spot assessment of oil facilities at Imo River flow station 1 and 3 as well as Isimiri flow station in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State.
The governor advised that oil companies operating in the state should maintain cordial relationship with their host communities in order not to incur their wrath.
He gave the assurance that whatever be the the misunderstanding between the oil companies and Owaza community is will be resolved amicably and called every group to maintain peace.
He saluted youths of Owaza and Ukwa West in general for their peaceful disposition and calmness towards the oil companies operating in their area and urged the companies not to take the calmness of the youths for granted.
The Governor noted that there is the need for the companies to employ youths of the area as well as for them to discharge their social responsibilities to their host communities.
He frowned at the practice of flaring gas at ground level at the Isimiri flow station with its attendant adverse effect on the host community and stated that his visit to the oil facilities was to ensure that they operate according to best practices.
Earlier, a spokes person of Owaza community and former NDDC commissioner,Chief Sam Nwogu lamented that the Owaza community has not benefited from the oil companies as they have denied their indigenes of employment opportunities.
A representative of the oil company, Mr Benjamin Oblong conducted the Governor round the facilities to show him the extent of abandonment and destruction of their roads, yet the companies have refused to do anything.
It could be recalled that the youths of Owaza Community in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia state, recently embarked on a peaceful protest against a multi Billion Naira gas company operating in their area which belonging to Total E & P Company Ltd, which they alleged refused to abide by their agreement with the Community.
The youths and elders of the community sealed the company indefinitely and vowed not to leave the gate until the agreement is respected by the firm.
The placards-carrying youths, who turned out in their hundreds, with drums and other cultural instruments, besieged the company’s gate, beating and dancing to some cultural tunes that depicts danger in the tradition of Owaza people.