There was tension in  Umuofeke Agwa Autonomous Community in Oguta LGA;Imo state when over 500 persons trooped out Last Thursday to show their grievances in a peaceful manner against Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited, SGORL, over what they described as the company’s in sensitiveness and neglect over the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, entered with them in 2008.


The protest comprising  men, women and Youthse marched to the Oil rig of the oil firm demanding the shutdown of operations until they were attended to.

However, security personnel posted to man the site prevented them from carrying out their threat, describing it as unnecessary.

In the protest letter, the community alleged ” We are representatives of Umuofeke Agwa Community in Oguta LGA; Imo state your major host community. We write to notify you of the total breach of the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, by Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited, SGORL, and the urgent demand for the review of the MOU and or execution of separate MOUs with the three host communities in Agwa, Imo state”

The community reminded the SGORL that it commenced oil exploration activities in their area between 2006 and 2007 and a MOU entered with them, comprising Mgbala Agwa Autonomous community and the old Uwaorie Agwa Community, adding that the then Uwaorie Agwa Autonomous Community was made up  of Umuofeke Agwa and Umukpogu Agwa respectively, stating that Umuofeke Agwa became an autonomous community in 2010 in other words the MOU executed with the former communities on February 8,2007 still exists.

Speaking  during an audience with the representatives of the company, Chief Clifford Mgbugba, averred the people were only observing a peaceful protest, just to remind the oil company of the understanding they have with the community years back.

“We feel shortchanged because of the promises made to us have not been fulfilled over the years.
“Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited invaded our lands to explore the oils therein without adequate compensation, which portrays us as fools and we cannot continue to fold our hands and watch things go wrong “, Chief Mgbugba said

According to Chief Dandy Aguigbo, the Chairman, Oil and Gas Committee of Umuofeke Agwa community, ” We have been raped by SGORL. They have destroyed our farm lands and we have no food to eat as they have resolved not to compensate us.

“Due to oil spillages, we cannot go into farming again. No award of scholarships, no construction of roads to ease means of transportation from our area to neighboring communities for the little farm produce we can get from our remaining farm lands”

“What we are not aware of is, if there are some disgruntled elements who go behind us to collect what belongs to the community collectively”.

” So therefore, we are giving SGORL a one week ultimatum to fulfill all the agreement entered with them many years ago without delay or face the wrath of the community”.

Speaking further, Aguigbo, revealed, “the company has neglected to give gainful employments to qualified graduates from Umuofeke Autonomous community and it has become pertinent, they do the needful in the interest of peace”, Aguigbo pointed out.

Representative of the women, during the protest, Mrs. Mercy Utazi, stressed” It is unfortunate the Oil company who were supposed to assist us in terms of difficulties has turned out to be our problems.

“Whatever will be the actions of our men and youths toward reclaiming those things that belong to us will be supported by us the women. We will give them all the necessary backing in a bid to make sure the marginalization against us comes to an end”.

The Community Liaison Officer, CLO, Mr. Tochukwu Ejinkeonye, expressed happiness over the attitude of his people towards the protest, describing it as “peaceful”.

He also pledged to do all within his power to make sure all the genuine requests by his community would be met, saying, they are not fighting for their interests alone, but for the entire community.
Elder Onugbolu Agu, another elder, advised the oil company to act fast and settle with them, as according to him ” Peace costs nothing ”

Youth Leader of the Community, Comrade Berthram Anyanwu, reminded the oil company’ s representative, of their usual manner of claiming to have taken note, but should do something positive to beat the deadline given to them by the community.

“Our community does not want to quarrel with you, but be it known that we are not pushovers”, even while Pastor Austine Agu, Secretary of the Oil and Gas Committee, insisted “the company will pay us full entitlements, having failed in the past to fulfill their own part of the agreements so far”.

The protest letter further averred ” Sometime in December 2015, there was a publication on newspapers circulating in Imo State, which was also aired on radio stations based in the state, that SGORL has provided our community with the essential community development services as contained in the MOU,including the provision of good roads, pipe borne water, schools, scholarship, hospitals, Jobs, and markets among others.

“This is completely false, as no such services have been provided by SGORL to our community. This goes to show that your company is intentionally neglecting our community.

” Following the utilization our farmlands for oil exploration and production activities, we have been divested of these farmlands and our people now live in abject poverty and die of hunger as no adequate compensations have been made to our community in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

However, the Community recalled they have remained law abiding and observe the responsibilities which SGORL expects from them, in the mix of neglect, unfair treatment and flagrant breach of it’s obligations, pointing out ”It is a common practice in the Oil and Gas business for oil companies operating in communities where they have discovered oil to pay certain amount to the communities, before oil rigs are moved in and of the host communities, SGORL has installed and uninstalled many rigs on the oil well discovered on our farmlands, but has only paid N1,000,000.00 for rig installation to the community in December 2015. SGORL ought to pay a minimum of N10,000,000.00 whenever it moves in or moves out it’s rigs from any of the oil wells it has discovered on our farmlands.

Apart from other social amenities and infrastructures demanded by the community, they also want a cash remittance of N1,000,000,000.00 as compensation for their farmlands, economic crops and trees therein, in respect of the previous farmlands, where the company discovered oil wells.
Other demands of the community from the Oil Company include; “Immediate payment of the sum of N15,000,000.00 to our community, representing payment for bush entry into our farmlands where SGORL has recently discovered new oil wells.

“Payment of the sum of N100,000,000.00 as general damage for false publication and misrepresentation by your company.

” Payment of the sum of N200,000,000 as general damage for breach of the provisions of the MOU; immediate payment of arrears of monthly security votes to the community at N200,000 per a month between January 2010 till date among other requests as contained in the letter.

Spokesman of the company,  Col Akama, who spoke on behalf of SGORL, thanked them for being peaceful on their requests, noting their grievances had earlier been discussed by the Management and they doing all they can to fulfill their own part of the agreement, but were being careful so some families would not be missed, which they said may aggravate the whole issues again.



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