Irate indigenes of Ikebiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Council of Bayelsa State, yesterday, shut down three oil production wells belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The protesters, while shutting down the facilities, alleged that NAOC refused to re-award contracts for abandoned projects under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
The affected wellheads including 9, 14 and 11, were shut by the indigenes numbering over a hundred. They displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘Enough is enough’, ‘Ikebiri says no to Agip’s neglect’, ‘Stop divide and rule’, and ‘Give us our impact jobs’.
It was gathered that though armed soldiers were later deployed to unlock the wells, the indigenes vowed they would continue to disrupt the company’s operations.
Chairman of Ikebiri Community Development Committee (CDC), Comrade Timiondi Fabofirghe, said their action was in response to refusal by Agip to re-award abandoned projects and include the community as beneficiary of quick impact projects in the absence of the GMoU.
An indigene of the community and the State Secretary of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Comrade Timi Igoli, while confirming the development, said instead of NAOC to discuss with the indigenes, “they invited armed soldiers into the dispute. This was what led to the killing of seven indigenes in the last protest.
“Ikebiri, which is rich in oil and gas, has been neglected and cheated by Agip. The abandoned water project must be completed. The NAOC built a hospital at Ikebiri 1 without beds and equipment. Patients now lie down on bare floor.”