Background to the Study
Nature is lavish in its endowment of Eleme as indeed other areas of the Niger Delta. Like other communities in the region, Eleme is endowed with an abundance of hydrocarbon, good vegetation for agriculture and arteries of waterways for easy communication, among others. As Obo Osaro Ngofa rightly notes, ‘several multi-national companies are operating within Eleme territory and some of them are engaged in crude oil production, gas utilization, fertilizer production, oil refining and petrochemical productions. The sprawling Onne Port Complex has over 100 companies operating various services within the area and particularly within the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone’. Some writers refer to the town as ‘Nigeria’s unofficial headquarters of oil and gas’. Among other things, the town houses the oldest refinery in Nigeria, the National Fertilizer Company (NAFCON) now NOTORE Industries Limited, the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), and the Federal Lighter Terminal (FLT), to mention a few.
A first visit to the busy Onne Port Complex or the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone easily creates the impression that Eleme Local Government Area which houses these facilities and several multinational companies is developed in terms of infrastructure and human capital. The real situation is a far-cry from what should be expected. The sprawling town of an estimated 200,000 people, located 7 kilometres from Port Harcourt, is endowed with enormous oil deposits and the concentration of over 150 oil multinational companies as well as quite a number of federal government installations. But it has no semblance of a town endowed with such magnitude of mineral wealth and the concentration of several multinational companies.