By Dayo Johnson
PROTESTING youths from the oil rich communities of Ondo State have reportedly disrupted the exploration activities of Conoil Nigeria Limited following alleged breached of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the communities.
The youths numbering hundreds invaded the production platform of Conoil in Obe that was about 6 metres offshore of the area and sent packing members of staff of the company.
Spokesman of the protesting youths, Mr. Rawa Felix vowed not to allow exploration activities until the demands of the communities were met.
Rawa Felix said they had invaded the platform since last Thursday after the expiration of the ultimatum given to the company.
Contacted on phone the Head of Community Relations, Mr. Richards Edegbai, declined comment on the activities of the youths in the oil producing communities of the state, saying the caller could be an impostor.
But the communities said over two years ago, they had signed a MoU with the oil company that was supposed to have been in operation since then.
Felix stated that some of the components of the MoU were scholarship to students from the communities, skill acquisition/training and employment for the people of the area.
Two years after the signing of the MoU, he pointed out that â€œthe oil company had not done anything to implement the document, despite its 25, 000 barrels per day production in the area.
The communities, however, said the oil company was taking them for granted because of the general peaceful nature of Ondo State.
Their Spokesman noted â€œWe took this action because we have had several meetings that were not successful. We gave them ultimatum and this is because we are peacemakers and we do not want to take laws into our hands.
â€œThis is the seventh year that the company has been exploring oil in our area with nothing back to the communities. We are not militants that is why I have decided to stay with the boys so that there won’t be any destruction of propertiesâ€.