Crisis looms in Delta community over location of refinery

Police warn cultists, kidnappers

The Community Liaison Manager, Conodit Refinery Limited, Mr. Godfrey Uwadia has appealed to the Delta State government and the Inspector General of Police to intervene in the looming crisis at Umukwata community, Ukwani local council over the alleged moves by some individuals to frustrate efforts by the company to establish a crude oil refinery in the area.

Uwadia, who spoke at the weekend claimed that two prominent indigenes of the community, Chief Joseph Ekeli and Fidelis Osuyali who support the setting up of the refinery had been arrested and taken to Lagos on allegation of threat to life by some people in the community who are suspected of being against the project.

He said: “The mastermind of the arrest had bragged that over his dead body would the refinery be established. He claimed that he was not included when negotiations were going on between the company and the landlords.”

According to him: “Lands in Umukwata are owned by individuals and not the community; the company has secured relations with the owners of the land measuring 278.5 acres and we are just about writing a memorandum of understanding for the outright purchase of the land and waiting for the investors to come in.”

A source in the community who pleaded anonymity explained that the majority of the indigenes supported the proposed refinery, but one of them who is Lagos-based is against it.

Meanwhile, the state Police Command has warned cultists and kidnappers in the state to be ready to face the full force of the law.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Zanna, who spoke in Asaba at the weekend while parading 64 suspected criminals said the fight against cultism and kidnapping was yielding results and vowed to end the menace.

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