We’re suffering in hands of state govt, SPDC —Community leaders
By Chancel Sunday
RESIDENTS of Solomon Zion community, Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, have called on Governor Douye Diri to facilitate compensation for land acquired for building of Forward Operational Base, FOB, project meant to provide security for personnel and equipment for the Bayelsa Deep Seaport project in Agge.
The neighborhood, one of the amalgams of Agge federated communities, also appealed to the governor to compel Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to approve it as a host to the EA Oilfield, stressing that the locality had been excluded from benefitting from the oilfield.
Dickson administration never paid compensation
In a S.O.S. letter addressed to Governor Diri by chairman and secretary, Solomon Zion community, Mr. Richard Iyanimigha and Mr. Enoch Iyayei, respectively, they requested the state government to attend to their plight without delay.
It read: “Solomon Zion is an autonomous community and we have maintained that status for well over 57 years. We are the host community to the Forward Operational Base, FOB project. Agge Deep Seaport was conceived over 45 years ago and today, we are happy that such a gigantic project is sited in our place.
“Sir, it will interest you to know that your predecessor, the Dickson Seriake-led government had not fulfilled the promises of compensating the locals for their crops and economic trees destroyed to pave way for the FOB project. Our community was turned to a construction site without paying a dime to anybody.
“A total of 11 buildings, including a mosque and a landing jetty, were built in respect of the FOB project without compensation to the community.
Why villagers rebuffed ex-SSG, ex-commissioner
“The then Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Hon. Kemela Okara, and then Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Hon. Stanley Braboke, came to commission the FOB project on 12th February, 2020 without recourse to the plight of the people. So, they were rejected outrightly by the community and advised to do the needful.
“We are calling on Governor Diri, who is consolidating on his predecessor’s projects to come and compensate us adequately. This neglect has caused us untold hardship, we are now exposed to strong winds and hard weather conditions as trees that provided shades were cut down.
“In view of this, very old people and children under 10 years who can no longer withstand the worsening weather conditions were sent to their early graves and are still dying. In fact, we are like people trapped in a war situation.
SPDC adding salt to injury
“We are also using this medium to appeal to our miracle governor to as a matter of urgency compel SPDC to approve Solomon Zion community as a host to EA Oilfield to cushion the long negative effect. We are the only community excluded in Kou Kingdom where SPDC operates its offshore EA Oilfield.
“We go to the same market and fish in the same sea with every other community in Kou Kingdom, but we are excluded from benefitting from the EA Oilfield for reasons best known to SPDC. Series of letters have been written to SPDC over this injustice but no response was given.
“We are suffering in the hands of both government and SPDC, who are two determining factors in Nigeria, either for you to live or die. We are slaves in our God-given environment as SPDC continues to neglect us,” they said.