Tension is heightening at the border communities of Enugu, Kogi and Anambra states following President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of Anambra as the 10th oil producing state.
Jonathan had made the declaration during his commissioning of Orient Petroleum Resources, OPR, Plc at Aguleri Otu in Anambra State last Thursday.
But reacting to the development, yesterday, members of the three Enugu communities involved in the oil wells dispute, vowed to protect the oil in their place with the last drop of their blood.
The communities, Ojjor, Iggah and Asaba, all in the Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State in a press statement made available to journalists yesterday in Enugu chided the Enugu state government over what they described as “its obvious indifference and unseriousness in safe guarding the oil wells in our communities”.
The statement which was jointly signed by Comrade Jude Ibeagha, Stan Madubia and Chris Okpe on behalf of the three communities accused the Enugu government of watching helplessly while Anambra claimed the oil wells domiciled in their areas.
"We are indeed shocked and pained as it concerns the recent happenings revolving around the oil wells located in our place. We describe as a glarring injustice and bare faced gagsterism a situation where Anambra politicians through Governor Peter Obi have arm-twisted our people and claimed ownership of oil wells located in Enugu state.
"For the avoidance of doubt, the oil wells in Ojjor, Iggah and Asaba communities of Enugu State provide the bulk of the crude oil supply to the OPR.
"Our anger is even more against the Enugu state government over its non-challant attitude in safeguarding the oil in our place. Like a man who pursues rat while his house is on fire, the state government has continued to treat this issue with levity as against the seriousness it deserved.
"We want to state that we are not afraid or incapable of protecting the oil wells, but we have been calm owing to assurances from some highly placed govermment officials that the matter was being sorted out.
"However, the recent designation of Anambra as an oil producing state is an obvious indication that the Enugu government never made any serious move in the first instance. It is equally noteworthy that unlike her Kogi counterpart, no serious public statement had come from Enugu government concerning this matter. We are compelled to think that there is a serious gang up and compromise in many quarters.
"We are giving the state government two weeks to take concrete steps on this matter; else we shall mobilize our people to occupy the affected areas. The occupy protest shall be the first stage of our struggle, after that we shall enter the second stage, which we shall make known soon.
"We are non-violent people but we should not be pushed to the walls. We recall that earlier this year, one of us lost his life to this struggle as he was shot dead by security agents. We cannot be intimidated by anybody, even if one of us remains, the person shall fight this injustice to the end,” the communities stated, even as they vowed to defend what belongs to them if the government cannot do so, the communities said their patience and maturity should not be misconstrued as cowardice.