The people of Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom in Bonny Local Government area
of Rivers state have given Multinational oil giant SPDC and Prime
Exploration and Production Limited operating within the Bonny axis a 21
day ultimatum to address issue of community marginalization and commence a
process of fence mending with the Bonny community or face demand for shut
down of all activities of both companies including legal ventilation.
The demand expectedly is to compel the companies to identify with their
critical stakeholders and host community including setting the records
straight over boundary issues with the custodians and people of Bonny
community over what has been brandished accidental or intentional
marginalization, neglect, distortions in payment of accrued royalties and
benefits and of course put an end to attempts by the companies to fan
embers of discord between Bonny and Andoni communities.
The Bonny community is demanding that both companies as a matter of urgent
importance give recognition, pay accrued royalties, execute beneficial
projects and give contract award to indigenous contractors of Bonny
extraction as a step towards engendering the needed peace and correcting
lingering anomalies perpetrated by the companies.
In a passionate request for intervention to the Acting President of
Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the armed forces and relevant authorities,
the accredited appointees of Bonny Kingdom, assigned to represent the
Kingdom on matters relating to SPDC, exploration and production activities
within the Bonny territory, Amaopusenibo Tamunonengiofori Abbey, and
Amaopusenibo Amiebibama Pepple, through their Solicitors, A.A Olusegun &
Associates of Destiny Chambers said the call has become necessary as
SPDC carries out surveillance, remediation, inspection and survey
activities within Bonny Kingdom territories of Otokolamabe and Okolo
Launch (Opobo Channel, Oloma, Ayaminima and Sangama axis) without
reference , consultation, permission or foreknowledge sought and obtained
from Bonny community and her custodians; while Prime Exploration and
Production Limited on their part has been operating oil exploration within
Bonny territory for the past three years without recourse to payment of
royalties and accrued benefits to Bonny Kingdom among others but rather
pays same to Andoni community who has no stake in the territory.
In a written petition to the General Manager(East) SPDC and MD/CEO of
Prime Exploration and Production Limited and copied the Chief of Naval and
Army staff, Inspector General of Police, Director of DSS among others, it
reveals that the situation has become self-serving and intrusive, as SPDC
and Prime E&P Ltd in the same atrocious and disrespectable manner had
entered into negotiation and contract with the people of Andoni community,
hiring and given out surveillance contract to them when Andoni community
is neither landlords, stakeholders nor part of the Bonny community; an
action capable of threatening peace, and fanning communal strife between
Bonny and Andoni Community.
The statement reads: “Following lack of regard and recognition of the
boundary ownership within the two territories and inordinate preference or
consultation in favour of the Andonis in the areas belonging to Bonny
community, it is clear that these companies are brewing an acrimonious
divide between the two kingdom; even as we know that oil companies with
the pedigree of SPDC and Prime should know better to act cautiously,
fairly and just.” It reads, describing as sad, recent development where
virtually all the fishing settlements belonging to Bonny community have
all been renamed and designated as Andoni, with some referred to as
Further statements clarifies that the boundary line between Bonny and
Andoni kingdom is clear and can no longer be under argument, following a
judgment to that effect by the High Court of Rivers state in Suit No.
P/79/1956 between Chief F.D.F Banigo and ANOR and Chief Benjamin of Aganna
&13 ORS, presided over by His Lordship G. F Dove Edwin J, in a considered
judgment delivered in the 16th of August 1957.
The judgment of the High court was further affirmed at the Supreme Court
in F.S.C 86.1958 to the effect that “the boundary between the Bonny and
Andoni territories lies clearly within the divide of the Andoni River”.
The Accredited appointees representing Bonny Kingdom through their
attorney said Bonny community have discovered preparation geared towards
commencing the sectional replacement of the 24 inches TNP from Opobo Riser
to Okolo Launch section, and is calling SPDC to retrace their step
especially in conduct and attitude detrimental to the interest, rights and
privileges, contracts and job benefits that should ordinarily come to
Bonny people. They advised that caution should be taken and all effort at
addressing the grouse should be immediately be put in place to right the
wrongs already inflicted knowingly or unknowingly by SPDC and Prime.
A representative of Prime E&P Ltd contacted refuse to divulge any
information, he said he was not in position to speak on the matter.
Meanwhile all attempt to reach SPDC management and key staff proved
abortive especially when they found out the reason for the visit.