By Tony Ezike
Besides its great potentials for agricultural development and commercial activities, Ogbaru Local Government Area is also an emerging oil producing block which contributes generously to the state IGR, as well as Nigeria’s GDP.
The world over, especially in developing societies, any area that accounts for a huge chunk of government revenue should indeed be seen and treated as a focal point for economic advancement, therefore the case of Ogbaru should not be different.
Worthy of note is the fact that once government takes so much from any community for overall development without giving back commensurate value to the people, such action will most likely generate more negative responses from indigenous stakeholders and the growing population.
A case in point is that of Ogbaru LGA whereby government revenue generation index is highest, yet the rate of poverty that pervades the land is better imagined than experienced. Indeed, the situation in Ogbaru calls for urgent attention in view of the LGA’s valuable contributions to national development.
The need for immediate action to address the deplorable state of infrastructure in Ogbaru at this point cannot be overemphasized considering the area’s vulnerability to perennial flooding which tends to displace majority of the residents from their homes year after year.
Below is a vital information gathered by Citypost from the immediate past Transition Chairman of Ogbaru LGA Hon Arinzechukwu Awogu for the records and further necessary action anticipated from concerned government institutions;
Currently, Anambra state has eleven (11) oil wells, eight (8) of which are in Ogbaru LGA under OML 143 and are the only producing wells that earn Anambra state the statutory 13% derivation. The other 3 wells outside Ogbaru are not producing at the moment.
It is on record that Anambra state was officially recognised as a petroleum-bearing and oil-producing state on August 30, 2021.
It is also on record that Anambra state started receiving mineral derivation revenue from the Federation Account in July 2022 courtesy of the operations of OML 143.
It is worthy to note that the details contained in the recognition of Anambra state as oil producing state stipulates that the state’s monthly accruable share of the 13% derivation shall be based on volume of production. Which is to say that as volume of production increases, so also will the accruable revenue, so we expect much improved volume of production as years go by which will translate to more oil revenue for Anambra state.
As at the last check, no fewer than 500 barrels of crude oil is produced daily from the 8 oil wells operated under OML 143 in Ogbaru LGA which is what gives Anambra state oil mineral revenue.
And one year down the line: July, 2022 to July, 2023; how has Ogbaru (Ogwu-Aniocha and Ogwu-Ikpele) faired in terms of the impartation of these inflows? Unfortunately, the inflow of oil revenue started trickling in when those that fought for Anambra state becoming oil producing state had left office.
Grateful that our efforts since 2016 (which I initiated and played pivotal role), at using the large deposit of oil and gas in Ogbaru LGA to launch Anambra state into the league of oil producing states has continued to yield dividends for Anambra state. The latest being the Anambra’s share of #2.386billion from #70.4billion FAAC allocation.
Like I will always say, the credit of the oil money that Anambra state enjoys today goes to former Gov. Willie Obiano who supported every of our efforts and spared nothing in the fight to establishing that it is on Ogbaru soil (not Delta state and or Imo state) that OML 143 operates, housing Ameshi and Enyie oil fields. Dr. Willie Obiano funded every operations and stood firm with the Anambra State Oil and Gas Development Committee (ASOGDC), and was more than willing to reach out to all authorities on the path to achieving the goal of Anambra state becoming an oil producing state.
I make bold to say that the traditional ruler of Ogwu-Aniocha community, HRH Igwe Oliver Chike Nnaji is the hero of the oil status Anambra state is enjoying today, for he laid his life for it and he deserves to be remembered and the young family he left behind. HRH Igwe Oliver Chike Nnaji, was abducted and murdered with his palace burnt to the ground because of his uncompromising stance in the effort at achieving oil producing status for Anambra state. I still urge that the Igwe’s disappearance should not be a closed chapter. Commission of Enquiry should be set up to further unravel what happened to Igwe Oliver Chike Nnaji and those involved in what has happened to that innocent man should be brought to justice.
The young family he left behind should equally be reached and accommodated than the obvious abandonment that apparently is the case at the moment. The wife, a former employee of the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) should be supported to pickup her life pieces again. Mention will also be made of the people of Ogbaru (referring to Ogwu-Aniocha and Ogwu-Ikpele), who have borne the brunt of the environmental degradation, denial of rights and varying degrees of subjugation by government (through super arching oil regulatory agencies) and key players in the extractive industry including the oil company operating in the area. And the harvest of deaths occasioned by deliberate instigation of family feuds just to keep the people busy and distracted.
As at today, there are more than 114 capped oil wells in Ogbaru LGA. And of the 93 oil wells capped by Shell BP in the 50s/60s in the region of Ossomari Forest Reserve, 25 are within Umunzalabia kindred’s land and 27 are located within Umuezeosai kindred’s land, while the rest 41 are located at Ofia-Ogwu (Okporodum, Utu-ala, Ogbu-ndam, Odidi lake, etc).
I urge the authorities concerned to pay a visit to the area that has become the goose that lays the golden egg and let the impartation of the oil revenue inflows be felt by the people of the area.
Hon Arinzechukwu Awogu is the immediate past Transition Chairman, Ogbaru Local Government Area.