By Monsuru Olowoopejo
The face-off between residents of Ibasa/Ijegun community, Oriade Local Council Development Area, LCDA and the Tank farms in the community has intensified, after the residents vowed to embark on a continued shutdown of the Tank farms’ operations until their demands are met. Meantime, the residents under the aegis of Ibasa/Ijegun Egba Youths Movement alleged that the State government had compromised in its responsibilities, saying “the environmental agencies of the State have failed to yield to their demands to investigate the activities of the tank farms.”
The residents under the aegis of Ibasa/Ijegun Egba Concerned Youth Association recently, shutdown activities at the Tank farms while protesting against the continued pollution of the community by the tank farms. Some of the tank farms are: Wosbab Energy Solutions, AA Rano, Star Oil, Emadep, First Deep water Oil, Chipet Pure Energy Ltd, First Royal Oil, Mao petroleum and others.
Chairman of the Ibasa Ijegun-Egba Youth Association, Mr. Babatunde Akinyanmi, said that to avoid the crisis in the Niger Delta and the recent crisis that rocked the Lekki Free Zone, LFZ where the Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide, Mr. Tajudeen Disu was killed, the oil companies must be ready to sign a fresh Memorandum of Understanding, MoU.
He noted that the MoU signed between the Community and management of First Deep Water tank farm, was signed on December 9, 2011, noting “but the tank farm has failed to comply with the MoU.” Akinyanmi explained that the MoU stated that whenever the company wants to recruit, the percentage of workers needed must be shared equally with the residents of the community. “Infact, we have several graduates in the community who are eligible to be employed in the farms.”
He alleged that the oil depots had not employed any of the youths in the community, adding that most of the promises made by the oil companies had not been fulfilled, stating that there is no Corporate Social Responsibility benefit for the companies.
According to him: “We have approached the oil companies on how to protect, restore and reverse land degradation and halt bio-diversity loss and create on agenda that will enhance prosperity for all as part of the new sustainable development goal 2015, United Nation(UN), climate change conference held September 25 2015.”
Akinyanmi added that the youths have sent letters to all the oil depots within the community, stating that, the first letter was dated November 16, followed by 23rd and finally 30th November requesting for meetings between the youths and the oil depots. He lamented that since the coming in of about 20 oil companies to the community in the last 10 years, “we have experienced oil spillage, environmental degradation, on deplorable roads due to movements of heavy trucks and tankers of the companies.”
Memorandum of understanding
Akinyanmi explained that the protest was to seek means of signing memorandum of understanding with the oil depots after several letters written to the companies to have talks on how to move the community forward proved abortive. While lamenting the absence of schools, recreation centres and potable water in the community, the President said that, they have approached the oil companies to see how they can end poverty, protect the environment and provide social amenities for the benefit of the community.
A resident of the community, Mr. Sunday Lawal, said that the poor state of the road was due to the activities of hundreds of tankers who ply the road daily, saying, “they have been using the road for years, but they are yet to give back to the host community.” Responding, a manager of Wosbab Energy Solutions, said that the company was deliberating on it and would soon be meeting with the host community. He noted that the companies were aware of their obligations (CSR) to the community and have concluded plans to invite their representatives.