Bayelsa communities threaten to shut down Agip operations over spill, MoU
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has called on the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to observe international best practices in its operations to avoid a shut down of its activities.
The body wants the oil giant to comply with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered with its host communities to avoid conflicts.
The President of IYC, Eric Omare, stated this after some communities in Bayelsa State threatened to shut down NAOC’s operations over a recent pipeline explosion.
The Ayamassa-Toumo trunk line exploded and caught fire for two days until Agip contractors came and put off the fire without a word to the community. It caused damages to both farming and aquatic life, leaving the entire town of Ayamasa in Ekeremor local government area in palpable fear.
Community leaders of Ogboinbiri and Azuzuama communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government of Bayelsa State had protested to the IYC over ill-treatment given to them, threatening to shut down Agip operations in their communities at the weekend.
The Ogboinbiri and Azuzuama Community leaders who were led by their Chairmen Tari Jacob Okoso and Walter Job-Molo informed the IYC leader that AGIP has refused to comply with the MOUs entered into with their communities.
They said attempts by the communities to ensure the company carry out development projects are usually greeted with military action.
The communities also complained of persistent oil spillage by Agip in the affected communities without payment of compensation with persistent military harassment.
Omare called on Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and the Federal Government to prevail on Agip to respect the MOU it entered into with its host communities.
Omare said this would avoid violent shut down of operations with grave security and economic implications to the nation, while calling on Agip to respect Nigerian laws on environmental protection and payment of compensation.