AHOADA- RESIDENTS of Akara-Olu Community in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State have barricaded the entrance to Oshie Field of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, in Rivers State, alleging neglect by the oil giant.
The youths and women of the area, who besieged the facility,last week, expressed concern that for over 40 years of Agip operation in the area, indigenes have not been employed by the firm, stressing that NAOC has also failed to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with the community which expired in 2004.
An official of NAOC at the facility during the protest simply took photograph of the villagers, saying that he would send the pictures to management for action.
Speaking, the leader of the protesting folks and the youth president of the community, Comrade Eyee Vincent, alleged that the oil activities in the area by Agip have caused more harm than good with many residents going deaf at 60 years.
He said: “We are here for a peaceful demonstration over many years of neglect by Agip. Agip has been here for over 40 years but they have not employed our people even when we have graduates in relevant field.
“We have written several letters to Agip in respect of this, yet no attention. We have even gone as far as writing to Agip, Italy, written to Rivers State Government, Rivers State House of Assembly, Senate President, Speaker House of Representatives even to security chiefs, yet there is no response.
“They have totally abandoned us even when we have two oil wells and one flow station. We do not have market, no road, no hospital. We are aggrieved. Agip should employ our people, they should also tell their subsidiaries to have understanding with us.
“We are facing health hazards because the flow station where they flair gas is in the community. Our elderly people who live here are all deaf because of their operations,” he said
The Secretary of Akara-Olu Women, Mrs. Destiny Esor, noted that women need alternative source of livelihood, adding that their crops no longer produce well because of oil activities.
Esor said: “We blocked their faculty today because we are tired of living as strangers in our land. We want to let Agip know that what they are doing to us is bad. We have made several complaints to them requesting them to provide market for women but no attention.’
“If you see our crops, they don’t produce well because of the heat from the big fire burning in their facility. Our plantain and banana only produce small bunches because of Agip operation. We can no longer make money through agriculture so they should provide us job,’ she added.
A youth leader, Comrade LoveGod Itigwe, expressed sadness that for about 13 years, since the MoU with Agip expired, the company has not renewed it, saying: “Our agitation is simple, since 2004 when our MoU with them elapsed, they have not made any effort to renew it. This is one of the problems we have. There has always been deprivations and neglect from them.’
“We are calling for intervention from government at all levels and well meaning individuals in this matter because if prompt action is not taken drastic action may be taken.
“We have only heard of GMoU. We dont know about it. We only know MoU. On the issue of GMoU we will relate it to the elders for decision.”Related