By Davies Iheamnachor, Port-Harcourt
Some landlords to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, have protested alleged neglect and marginalisation against by the oil firm, Agip.
The protesters on the platform of Concerned Landlords of Land and Swamp Areas in Collaboration with The Ijaw Youths Council, Worldwide, who stormed the Head office of Agip in Port Harcourt yesterday alleged that they were being neglected.
The protesters, who stormed the Agip head office in Port Harcourt yesterday had placards with ‘NAOC has over Stepped its Bounds’, ‘NAOC Must have a GMoU with Direct Owners of Oil Wells and Facilities in Land Area and Swamp’, ‘We have the right of First Refusal,’ ‘NAOC Give us our Rights or you leave our land’.
Speaking at the protest, Hon. Onisoya James Odu, the Director-General of the Concerned Landlords of Swamp and Land Areas, threatened that the body would shut Agip’s operations in the area if their demands were not met.
Odu noted they body would exhaust all peaceful means to ensure injustice for the people, adding that if Agip failed to adhere that the body would confront the firm.
He said: “We have come here to let the world know what we are going through. We have tried all we can as peaceful landlords of Agip to resolve all issues. The message we sent across they treated it with levity.
“We have told them in our earlier briefing that we will exhaust the three Cs, Consolidation, Consultation before Confrontation. If all our demands are not met, we will have no other option than to confront them and shut all their operations on our land.”
He alleged that Agip has failed to enter and implement the General Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU with the Landlords, adding that injustice against the people must stop.
He said: “Are our people not employable? Are we not good enough to occupy some positions? How can you come to our land, take our natural resources away without giving attention to the people? We have been too patient, how long will we continue like this? They have been taking us for a ride, we say, enough is enough.
“Agip is a company that will deceive our people to sign GMoU and they will not fulfil it. We are here to let them know that if our demands are not met we are not giving them a timeline because we believe that why are reasonable enough to address our needs as fast as possible.
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“If they fail we will have no other option than to declare Force Majeure. We will be left with no other option than to shut their operations so that they know how we feel.
“In an unjust society, silence is a crime, for how long are they going to be cheating and marginalising us? I want them to tell us how many of their landlords are employed in this company. Since 1956 that started operations and exploration in our communities nothing has happened to us, and we kept quiet.
“They have always tried to use the security agencies to intimidate us so that we keep calm, but enough is enough. We are supposed to be the best to secure their facilities and not the security agencies. Here is not a war or military zone that it should be militarised.
“We spoke earlier they called us a faceless organisation and did not attend to our demands. We are here to do our consolidation and if they fail we will have no option than to declare Force Majeure.”