A battle for the ownership of three oil blocks may lead to a breakdown of law and order in Enugu, Anambra and Kogi states, a senator claimed yesterday.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) urged the Senate to intervene to prevent possible loss of lives and property in the fight over the ownership of OPL 915, 916 and 917, being contested by the three states.
The Enugu North lawmaker said matters came to a head a few days ago when one Mike Emuh who claimed to be chairman, oil bearing host communities told a gathering of Anambra traditional rulers that the state had been designated oil producing state in exclusion of Enugu and Kogi States.
He said stakeholders in Enugu and Kogi States were embarrassed about the claim especially when senators from the three states were working assiduously to make raise the status of the states to oil bearing.
He said they also agreed that the 13 per cent derivation should be shared by the three states based on what each had pending the report the National Boundary Commission working on the delineation of the area.
Utazi said that the area bearing the oil blocks was contiguous with people from the three states working together.
He said Emuh’s announcement created problem in the area leading to people carrying arms against one another.
Utazi said, “The oil has been there. It was during President Goodluck Jonathan the issue came up. People did not bid for the oil because it was landlocked. But some business men from Anambra State agreed to build a refinery there. Jonathan on Enugu soil on August 30, 2012 declared Anambra oil producing state.”
He said the pronouncement of Jonathan led to massive protest which forced the president to invite the three state governors for discussion on how to address the issue.
Utazi said after explanation by the governors, Jonathan withdrew his recognition and directed the National Boundary Commission to look into the matter and determine who owns what.
He said that Anambra people have not allowed the commission to do its job.
He said that the military stationed its personnel there to keep the peace.
Utazi said the decided to alert the Senate due to serious signs of likely mayhem in the area.
He added that it was equally necessary to tell the Senate that Emuh was not the Minister of Petroleum to announce the recognition of Anambra as oil bearing state.
Utazi said Senator Andy Ubah (Anambra south) who accused him of misleading the Senate “jumped into an issue he does not know anything about.”
He also described Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) who dismissed his position on the oil blocks as “a meddlesome interloper who should be ignored.” He said Melaye provided “a comical relief” on the issue.