By Laurence Izegbu
Delta State local content agency has resolved a major dispute between communities in the state and Sterling Global Hydrocarbon Ltd.
The arbitrtation was made possible by the Director General of Delta State Local Content Agency, Dr Morris Idiovwa.
Ogbe-Ani Community in Delta State had demanded Sterling Global Limited to pay the benefits accruable to its members, which it has excluded and denied them from.
This is part of the resolution contained in the communiqué from the joint meeting with members of the Independent Landowners’ Association of Ogbe-Ani and the leadership of Ogbe-Ani community involving exclusion in the implementation of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sterling Global Limited and the community held on May 19, 2022 at the office of Delta State Local Content Agency, Governor’s Office Annex, Edjeba-Warri.
According to the communiqué, the company has denied and excluded the host community from accruable compensations, entitlements, dues, payments including all terms stated in the General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Agreements entered between them.
The communiqué stated that the host community, who are the indigenous members of Ogbe-Ani, made up of four families, Umu-Azaka Anie, Umu-Achi Ossai, Umu-Egwo and Umu-Eze Ogbe, shall be entitled to 60 percent of any benefit (s) received and or accruable to them from the hosted company.
It also demand that the traditional landowners, who are the four families and the statutory landowners, who are the indigenous and non-indigenous persons with rightful legal claims over the parcel that hosts the operational facilities/ assets of the company, are entitled to the remainder 40 percent of any benefits received from the company.
The communiqué further stated that, of the 40 per cent accruable to the aforesaid landowners, the traditional landowners shall be entitled to 75 per cent, while the statutory landowners are entitled to 25 per cent.
It noted that the statutory landowners shall have three representatives in the existing Landowners’ Association of the host community, one to be an indigene and a statutory landowner.
According to the communiqué, neither the landowners nor the host community shall have any meeting (s) or discussion (s) with the hosted company without the presence or participation of a statutory landowner representative notwithstanding whether the said representative is a member of any other committee/ group responsible for said meetings.
The communiqué continues: “That each Party shall at all times; show the utmost good faith to the other in all matters relating to this Communique, conduct themselves in a proper and responsible manner for the purpose of maintaining the peace and accord enshrined in this communique, dutifully perform their respective obligations, terms and conditions under this communique.
“Any dispute arising from this Communique between the Parties or their respective representatives or between one Party and the representatives of the other party shall be referred to Arbitration, in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.”