Oben people in Edo state have dragged the SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Limited before the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, over the lingering crisis in the oil community.
SEPLAT currently operates OMLS4, 38 and 41.
The traditional ruler of Oben, HRH Odolighe Ogiemwonyi in a statement issued at Oben, Orhionmwon local government area of Edo state said the SEPLAT management has remained adamant despite repeated appeals through letters rejecting the community’s earlier nominee on the Oil and Gas Communities Forum of the oil company.
The ruler said that the community had a rethink about its earlier nominee, one Chief Friday Omoragbon as its representative on the forum and instead replaced him with Princess Enoboingho Uhunmwangho, in a series of letters from his Palace.
He said SEPLAT has by its action violated the GMOU the community signed with it which amongst others, required that the oil company can only accept an accredited nominees of oil communities into the forum.
“Such nominees are sent on behalf of the community by the Traditional ruler and so I have done but rather than doing the needful SEPLAT has not only accepted the Oben community rejected nominee but approved his election as the chairman of the Forum”.
HRH Ogiemwonyi said Omoragbon who is one of his many chiefs as the Enobore of Oben, “has also been relieved of his traditional office and as the community’s representative for ten years, ordered to give the community a detailed statement of account forthwith”.
Efforts to contact SEPLAT failed while Chief Omoragbon denied allegations that he was at the centre of the “dispute between SEPLAT and Oben community” arguing that there was no such dispute, “to the best of my knowledge”.
He also said that contrary to the insinuation that he was representing Oben on the SEPLAT forum, based on his experience over the years, four neighboring communities around Oben actually nominated him as their representative and even elected him as the forum chairman in a free election.
Omoragbon said he was in good terms with his traditional ruler and would not do anything that would bring his highly revered name and reputation to ridicule even as he blamed idle persons in Oben for fanning embers of crisis where there is none.

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