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Friday, April 19, 2024

Imo Oil Community Cries For Justice, As Sterling Global Oil Accused Of Encroachment, Damages



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The Obokofia community, nestled in the heart of Ohaji/Egbema LGA in Imo State, finds itself at the crossroads of neglect and exploitation. For over six years, Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited has operated within their midst, leaving behind a trail of grievances and shattered hopes.

Community leader, Mr. Okwuruoma Chris, in a candid conversation with journalists, bared the frustrations of his people.

He lamented the wanton disregard for due process exhibited by Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited, which brazenly encroached upon their lands without adhering to proper channels.

The company, seeking to expand its operations, imposed exorbitant lease rates on the land, pricing each plot at a staggering ₦200,000 for a lease term of 30 years. The community, rightfully rejecting such unjust terms, faced the brunt of the company’s aggression as their lands were forcibly acquired, leading to the destruction of economic flora, fauna, and crucially, electric poles, severing the lifeline of electricity to the community.

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Mr. Chris further detailed the harrowing experiences of the community, recounting instances where reckless truck drivers, employed by the oil company, endangered lives through their breakneck speeds along community roads. Attempts to address these hazards were met with disproportionate violence, as the company’s military personnel resorted to indiscriminate shootings and arbitrary arrests, leaving the community in a perpetual state of fear and insecurity.

Moreover, the environmental degradation caused by the company’s activities has pushed local fishers into abject poverty, as rivers once teeming with life now lay polluted and lifeless.

Echoing Mr. Chris’s sentiments, Mr. Nkeruka Johndavid, secretary of the women association, decried the absence of basic social amenities and corporate responsibility initiatives from Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited. Despite years of operation, the community remains devoid of essential infrastructure such as hospitals and roads, exacerbating their already dire situation.

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The Youth President, Ojikwa Prince, rallied behind the community’s plea for intervention, highlighting the glaring absence of governmental presence in one of the state’s largest oil-producing communities.

He implored Governor Sen Hope Uzodinma to heed their cries for assistance, urging for decisive action to rein in the unchecked power of oil companies operating within their borders. A call was made for the state government to intervene, facilitating a dialogue between the community and the oil company to establish mutually beneficial terms and ensure the protection of the community’s rights and interests.

As Obokofia community continues to grapple with the aftermath of unchecked exploitation and governmental neglect, their plight serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for accountability and justice in Nigeria’s oil-rich regions.

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