Residents of Twon Brass, in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, resumed their protest against the management of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), over alleged non-compliance to its corporate social responsibility to its host communities.
The protest grounded economic activities as angry residents occupied the premises of the oil firm even when power supply was partially restored.
It was earlier reported that angry residents had on May 14 disrupted activities at the oil firm by blocking access to the facility in protest of alleged two month power outage, refusal to pay indigenous contractors and neglect of social obligations by management of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
It was also reported that the protest led to the destruction of the home of the Paramount Ruler of Twon Brass Kingdom, King Alfred Diette-Spiff.
While the management of Eni, Italian parent company of NAOC had in a statement on announced that power supply to the area had been restored following repair work on a power cable damaged by thunderstorms.
A resident of Twon Brass, Mr Taribalalate George, in a telephone interview with newsmen on Monday, said that the power situation was yet to stabilise and hence the people were still at the protest site.
“As we speak, there is no power in Twon Brass but they brought the light on Thursday (May 20) but it has been going off and on and we are suspicious that it is a ploy to disperse the people while the power issue persists”
“The protest is still on, because we have so many issues bothering on Agip’s neglect of their social obligations as spelt out in our Memorandum of Understanding but it was the power outage that sparked off the protest and we insist all other issues are resolved as well,” George said.
He explained that the community leadership and some government officials were expected to come to the protest site at Agip’s Terminal gate to interact with the protesters and update them on progress made in the negotiations but they did not show up as of Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, condemned the attack on the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, by youths of the kingdom.
Diri expressed displeasure on Monday during a meeting with some leaders of Twon-Brass to resolve the misunderstandings between the people of the area.
In a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, the governor acknowledged the right of people to embark on peaceful protests but frowned at the recourse to the misguided attack on the monarch.
He warned the youths to shun violence, adding that government would not condone further attack on the revered king under any pretext.
Governor Diri also urged Bayelsans to explore other means of resolving grievances instead of the penchant to embark on protest at the slightest disagreement.
His words, “Let this be a warning to those who perpetrated that act. We are happy with the relative peace in Bayelsa and would like to maintain and sustain it.
“There are other avenues to explore. We have the local government chairman there. If all avenues fail, protest should come as the last resort. Let us not wake up every minute to protest. I, however, applaud your peaceful disposition with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company over the years.”
Describing Twon-Brass, host to Agip and Shell, as important and strategic to the state and Nigeria in general, Diri stated that all avenues would be explored to resolve the contentious issues and prevent a breakdown of law and order.
Diri further disclosed that to forestall conflicts in communities arising from Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoUs), government had made it compulsory that it would be part of the signing of GMoUs with companies.
“No GMoU should be kept secret because we have seen that as a point of conflict between communities and companies operating in the state.”
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