Re–SEPLAT-AGPC ASSA LAND ACQUISITION DECEIT, & WHY THERE MAY NOT BE SOFT LANDING FROM ANY LESSOR/DONOR FOR OIL & GAS OPERATION IN ASSANORTH

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In the animal kingdom, tortoise is acclaimed to be one of the most wisest creature that ever existed, but most Africa traditional folk tales attached such wisdom to subtle-craftiness and deceit to his normanclature,

And this assumed subtleness of tortoise has been the major strategy of most oil and gas company’s operation during the acquisition of their property within the Niger-Delta region, yet some of the companies support their host community and donors to leverage the eternal loss of their ancestral heritage, but the land acquisition of Seplat-Agpc in AssaNorth is getting to another twist, which have raised unanswered questions in the minds of many stakeholders within the community.

In line to the recent research work carried out by Arise African Newspaper and magazine in AssaNorth, 67percent average of family index in the host community is gradually descending to poverty within the recent years despite the sacrifices their parents made to the multinational oil & gas companies present in the locality.

To this effect, AssaNorth (Assa Autonomous Community in Ohaji-Egbema LGA of Imo State) who’s indigenes are predominantly farmers, was said to have lost many aecrage of their entire farmland due to fake promises from the multinational oil companies in exchange for peanut, thereby mudsliding into existential poverty, impoverishment and environmental degradation orchestrated by the operations of the oil and gas companies in the land.

Today, it is becoming clear to us that the management of Seplat-Agpc traded with the negotiators, and as well taken the entire host community of AssaNorth for granted, due to their constant neglect of the company to deliver its CSR obligations as enshrined in the operational documents, and other gentleman agreement with the land owners before their ancestral land was outrightly surrendered on duress.

The copius example of deceit and craftiness of tortoise above, which is often applied by this oil & gas merchant has resonated the grievances of the concern citizen of AssaNorth as was seen today in the media space and why we believe that it may be very difficult for another soft landing for any oil & gas company wishing to acquire a land in AssaNorth in the nearest future.

Why?
Because, the same wise tortoise had one day summoned his three sons and asked them,
How many times would you be a victim of circumstances, that could warrant you learn from your previous mistakes?,

The first son says, once!
The second son says, twice!
but the last son, which is presumably the wisest says to his father, daddy,
I wouldn’t allow anything happens to me before I learn, rather I just learn from the mistakes of others,……..

Today, As Gbade Assa watch in utmost amazement of the Seplat-Agpc ill-treatment, shenanigans and ruthlessness against the community, we strongly believe that they are closing up the doors of cordial relationship that existed before now.
Bcoz once beaten, twice shy and Gbade Assa can’t be beaten oftentimes before they learn from their previous mistakes.

Sadly, It is obvious to state categorically that the negotiators of Seplat-Agpc AssaNorth land acquisition were induced to subscribing to outright sale of their ancestral land for #90,000, instead of OML. The question is “Can it happen again? the answer is No!

Or can the entire community still yield to this strategic rhetoric by the management of Seplat-Agpc to continuously undermine or mortgage our livelihood and development on and on, again?.

Last time we checked, as was disclosed during the meeting with our stakeholders, we were told that AGPC is training 35 graduates in different capacity to manage the facility without a single host community graduate being represented.

But a reliable information we gathered reveals that Seplat-Agpc may be recruiting not less than 50 personnel to manage the facility effectively, which is unknown to the stakeholders in the meeting who were even begging and requesting for only 5 chances,,, this isn’t very ridiculous and deceitful?.

Today, it’ s insane and regrettably unfortunate, that in 1958, the first oil discovery in olobokir -Baylesa State, operaed on OML, but in 2016-17 a multinational oil company acquire a plot of land for #90,000 (Ninety thousand Naira) not by lease but on perpetuity, which is not obtainable anywhere in the world.

One could asked, how can a reasonable and wise people sale an ancestral land for peanut unto perpetuity, rather than OML
The answers lies on the following reasons.,

1, Truely, the company’s syndicate from AssaNorth lack the knowledge of the acronym (OML) Oil Mining on Lease, or they were bought over bcos of greed and selfish aggrandizement.

2, Because the community was bedeviled with crisis when this transactions or acquisition was made.

3, Hence, the acquisition of the land wasn’t done on a normal circumstances, but on duress and inducement.

4, Because of fake and unrealistic promises of the oil merchant to our parents who ran to Ohuba for safety when the entire community was in crisis,

5, Due to the manipulative strategy and Subtle-craftiness of this agent of darkness and their collaborators,who want to enrich themselves to the detriment of the land owners

6, Because of the hardship -(condition) the donors/lessor are facing during the crisis hence, every one needed some money to survive.

7, Their collaborating opportunist capitalized on this factors above to pressurize our old parents to assent to document, as their only option to survival.

It’s worthy to note that in oil & gas business, land as an undepreciatable asset or factor of production is not sold on perpetuity, rather acquisition of such acreage is normally agreed on OML because of it’s appreciative value per time,
And if such is done because of the vested interest of government the donors/lessors of the land MUST BE PROPERLY ASSIMILATED INTO THE SCHEME OF THINGS,
Because you can’t muzzle the ox that traded the corn,

However, despite all the duressity and dubious means through which Seplat-Agpc acquire the land, its management and syndicates have bluntly refuse to reciprocate by giving some soft landing for direct employment, skill acquisition programs and prompt payment of FTO workers and their entitlement as at when due in AssaNorth.

Regrettably, as a concern citizen and spokes person to Umunduka Landlord Sons Association, we have chosen this avenue to showcase our grievances and continuously unravel the ill-treatment of the company against us until our demands are met, and if this channel fails we shall go on air, or use any available means within the armbit of the law to make our voices heard in the state and nationwide.

Again, the actions of Seplat-Agpc mgt reveals that they are satisfied with the portion of land acquired already, and they may not need further acquisition for longtime objectives or projects.
But, if the management in their strategic planning envisage acquiring additional land for expansion, like what Waltersmit Petroman is doing today, believe me it will be a very hard and cumbersome task to undergo despite the strategy or lobbyist they may have employed.

During the final stage of the land acquisition,I was opportuned to meet the Community Relation officer,
And asked her some questions why the company was insisting on outright acquisition instead of lease?

And she answered, bcoz you and your grand-children would be the beneficiary of the sacrifices your parents made by give out this land, but today the reverse is the case.
The strategy of this woman and the management of Seplat-Agpc then were inclusive, assimilative, very dearing and always listening to the plight of the landlord,
She knows every donor, kindred by kindred and was ready to attend to their problems,
Even though she lost her job, her impact and records stood for her during the acquisition period as one of the best lobbyist Seplat-Agpc have ever hired.

Comparatively, it is on record that the crop of management of SEPLAT-AGPC today can’t do the most inclusive strategic work of the embattled Madam Okwy, and the lawyer Omotari, who sacrificed their job, bcos of the deceit of the company during the land acquisition .
Although, they are no more with the company but their approach of inclusiveness, and their policy of assimilation was superb comparing to the present crop of leadership that even go by the slogan ” YOU HAVE SOLD YOUR LAND AND NOTHING IS LIKE LANDLORD”
And because some indigenes of AssaNorth concur with such diabolic statement, hence the audacity of the company to undue and exlude the entire host community in the sharing formulae.

Secondly, The suspension of GMOU as the operational documents and standard parameters of dealing with the host community is a clear indication that the company have no respect for the leadership of the community and the entire people of AssaNorth.
Personally, as I go through the documents of GMOU, I wept for my people,bcos No project ever has been started and completed by the multinational cheats.
No infrastructural development, No human capacity development, and No financial sustainability acruable to the community or donors from the company as was seen in their deceit during this land acquisition.,

The leadership of Seplat-Agpc should know that shortchanging the Host community in the scheme of things like employment of graduates, training of skill workers, delay of payment of salary and worker’s entitlement is a clear indication of their insensitivity to the progress of the community

In the same vein, the Association of Assa graduates and undergraduates unequivocally frown and condemned in clear terms the disparaging comments of our incompetency even when they have not been given opportunities to test or develop their intellectual, technical and mental capacity like others in their own homeland..

Emphatically, the management of Seplat- Agpc are deliberate in their actions, unrealistic in dealing with the host community, to lives in pretence on the consequences of the dubious means employed by the company through which the land was acquired, they have continued in their misleading strategy again, and unfulfilled employment promises made to the land donors before their inception unabated

Conclusively, according to Robert Greene, “If a man doesn’t have a reason to die, he doesn’t have any reason whatsoever to live”, and any organization or leadership that makes peaceful change impossible, shall make violent change inevitable,

And if the language of this oil merchants is violence, then we have ideally chosen to be responsible for any consequences of this struggle associated with the defence to my ancestral heritage.we shall not continue to condole the deliberate excludability of our people in the scheme of things.

But We shall henceforth continue with bravity in our crusade for genuine change to the people of AssaNorth, until the leadership of Seplat-Agpc go back to drawing board to implement the global memorandum of understanding with the host community, and give necessary waiver for graduates trainees, skill acquisition program, direct employment and finally reassure the 30percent derivatives benefit to host community on infrastructure and human capacity development as was enshrined in the National local content act across Niger Delta region,

For me, I have defended the corporate image of Anoh Gas Processing Company Ltd, untill we discovered in recent years their deliberate attempt to undermine the future of the landlord sons and entire community of AssaNorth whose means of livelihood depends on this acreage of farmland taken without heart of gratitude.

finally, we therefore advice the management of Seplat-Agpc to borrow a green leaf from other multinational oil companies across Niger-Delta region, which will foster mutual co-existence in AssaNorth.

20/03/2024

 

published In; Arise African Newspapers,
; Arise African Magazine,

Cc; Human Right Commission, Owerri,

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Ikechukwu Anyanwu
PROFILE OF IKECHUKWU ANYANWU Ikechukwu Anyanwu is an Imo State born Nigerian. An Author, Public Speaker, Humanitarian, Blogger, Media Guru and Start-up Coach. He has inspired millions through Arise Africa Network Platform He Is Into Education, Media, Entertainment, Showbiz and Hospitality Industry. Having calved a nitche for himself as a leadership expert, human capital development and management consultant. He is currently the Chairman, Online Media practitioners Association of Nigeria, Imo State Chapter. Ceo Arise Africa Magazine, Founder Arise Africa Network – a non-profit organization. Face of Arise Africa, Managing Consultant GCFN Consult. Member, Imo State Bloggers Association. Ag National President, Association of Pageant CEO’s of Nigeria Human Resource Specialist and Leadership Coach with astute impact on many seeking to maximize their skills, intellectuals and innate potentials He has a track record of reproducing leaders and helping them to gain dominance within their nitch. Mr Anyanwu after a rich career that spanned for 18 years having worked as Human Resources Manger, Outlet Manager Rennys Foods Limited from 2004 – 2019, Management Consultant for various Quick Service Restaurants in Abuja, Enugu, Rivers State, Abia, Ebonyi, Kogi and Imo State is now focusing on helping young people to discover, develop their talents. He has built lots of platforms for young people of Africa to express their talents. He is passionate about writing, consulting, coaching and training. He blogs regularly via www.ariseafrika.com and has a thriving social media followership. He is a graduate of Sociology/Anthropology, Imo State University whose passion is to impart knowledge by educating, equipping and empowering young minds for the future. He is an alumni of Living Word Training Center He is also the West African Representative of All African Media Networks He is married to Mrs Carol Anyanwu and blessed with 3 sons.

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