(Press Statement)The Government of Kogi State has read with utmost displeasure and dissatisfaction, the misleading report of an attack on the facilities of Orient-Petroleum Resources Plc, at the Kogi/Anambra boundary by persons referred to as “Kogi insurgents”. The report published on page 41 of the March 11, 2014 edition of Nigeria Tribune is mischievous, and its content is erroneous. The impression created is also false while the allegations contained in it are unfounded.
When the Deputy Governor and Secretary to the Government of Anambra State brought
the report of the “attack” to the attention of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, who is statutorily in charge of boundary matters, immediate steps were taken to verify the report. On inquiry, Kogi State Government discovered that both the Chairman of Ibaji Local Government Area bordering the area and the Ejeh of Ibaji, the paramount ruler of the area, had no information on the alleged attack; as no incidents were reported to them either by the neighbouring communities or the neighbouring Anambra East Local Government Council.
The resort to media projection of this issue is sad and unwarranted; as the two States had accepted that the issue be investigated to uncover those behind it. It is pertinent to note that Kogi State has deliberately avoided media projection of the boundary dispute in deference to the admonition of His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, that all sides should exercise restraint and avoid anything that could escalate the conflict. The placement of the false claims in that report in the media, therefore, is a breach of the mutual understanding that the two States had nurtured on this issue.
It is pertinent to stress that since the outbreak of dispute between the communities at the border of the two States, which prompted the intervention of His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, last year, both States have worked harmoniously to maintain and sustain peace in the area. This is evident in their contributions to the activities of the buffer security zone being manned by combined security agencies in the area. It is a mystery that such scale of damage took place as described and the perpetrators were able to beat the security buffer zone without being detected or apprehended. This incident has
also not been reported to Kogi State by any security agency. This is the more reason why a thorough investigation is required, and demanded by Kogi State.
The Government of Kogi State has provided sufficient encouragement and support to the communal meetings initiated by the border communities in Kogi and Anambra States; to evolve traditional resolutions of the dispute. This has culminated in eleven meetings held at various locations in Abuja, Kogi State and Anambra State between the affected communities. The last of the meetings which took place in Anambra State, held just a day before the reported attack. Significantly, the meeting in reference was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. It, therefore, stands against reason that the attackers could be linked to Kogi State.
For the avoidance of doubt, investigations conducted by the Government of Kogi State confirmed that Orient Petroleum Resources Plc had, in recent times, carried out active development of additional wells in the Kogi State territory without any let or hindrance. Up till this moment, the company has not also reported any incident to the Kogi State Liaison Officer on Oil and Gas, who has been relating harmoniously with the company.
The Government of Kogi State wishes to state clearly that no “insurgents” exist in the State and the Government has demonstrated unwavering commitment to peace in its neighbourhood and will continue to do so, the provocative content of the report in reference notwithstanding.
We call on the security agencies to remain alert and carry out a broad-based investigation to unravel the people behind the reported attack.
PROF. OLUGBEMIRO JEGEDE
Secretary to the Government of Kogi State