The people of Egbebiri Community in Biseni, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayalsa State, have shut down six oil wells operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, alleging neglect of its Cooperate Social Responsibilities.
The aggrieved community members, comprising youths and women, blocked all access roads leading to the affected oil wells with logs.
The paramount ruler of Egbebiri, Chief Aniedima Nicholas, said that they disrupted the oil production because of NAOC’s refusal to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the community.
Nicholas said the maiden MoU signed in 2001 lapsed in 2005, but efforts to get the oil firm to renew the MoU proved abortive.
He said: “Our grievances are due to the insensitive posture of Agip to our developmental needs. Our needs and expectations are captured in that agreement and if you look at the few amenities we have here, they are products of the first MoU.
“From 2005 till date, Agip abdicated its role and that stagnated development here. The road you see was from that MoU. We have waited for too long and decided to take this final step. We are prepared to go to any length to bring them to the negotiation as pay us our outstanding liabilities for jobs done by the community for more than one year.
“Our surveillance jobs on their pipelines have continued despite heavy debts owed us as well as pending compensation for oil spills since 2010,” Nicholas said.
The Chairman, Ijaw Youths Council in Egbebiri, Mr John Aniedima, said the youths had sacked security operatives deployed to safeguard the facilities after shutting down the flow of oil.
“We have taken over the wells to compel Agip to come to a negotiating table with community leaders. We are neither against the Federal Government nor state government, but we want to put an end to the neglect of our development needs,” he said.