Tension as youths shut down Conoil facilities in Bayelsa

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Tension enveloped Koluama community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Council Area of Bayelsa State, on Friday, following the invasion and shutting down of oil facilities being operated by Conoil Producing Limited by angry youths over alleged non-implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with host communities.

LEAKBLAST learnt that the breached oil facility known as Ango 2 field, operated by Conoil since 2013, has a crude oil production capacity of over 30,000 barrels per day.

It was also gathered that the aggrieved indigenes, including women, youths, and elders, caught security personnel stationed on the facilities unawares and demanded the shutdown of operations at the facility with placards inscriptions such as “No MoU, No Crude oil exploration”, “Conoil pack and go”, “We are tired of suffering” and “Koluama people are suffering”.

The decision of the aggrieved community indigenes was also backed by the members of the Koluama Oil and Gas Committee, insisting that the oil multinational have failed in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, which spelt out the social obligations of the oil firm to its host communities.

The Chairman of Koluama Clan Oil and Gas Committee, Chief Jonathan Amabebe, who spoke with LEAKBLAST, said some of the community’s demands include, clean-up of oil spill sites in the various communities and carrying out medical outreach to communities affected by the oil spills.

According to Amabebe, others are the issuance of an employment letter to one of the community’s qualified indigenes, who was successful in Conoil’s last employment exercise in 2015, and the award of contracts across the five host communities, in Koluama Clan, namely, Tamazo, Koluama 1, Koluama 2, Olobia and Kalaweiama, embedded in the MoU amongst others.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa state governor bans open grazing.

Also speaking on the development, the Technical Assistant to Special Adviser to the Governor on Oil and Gas, Prince Tare Ekubo, said that despite several warnings from the community, intervention by the government, meetings, and letters sent to Conoil to ensure that the relationship by both parties does not degenerate, the oil company has refused to implement decisions reached and as such the action from the community.

He, however, said the Bayelsa State Government will engage both parties to resolve the lingering issues once and for all.

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