The inhabitants of Otuasega community in Bayelsa State’s Ogbia Local Government Area are protesting Shell Development Company of Nigeria Limited’s alleged negligence (SPDC).
The unhappy community demonstrators have already shut down the SPDC’s Kolo Creek manifold, accusing the oil firm of being insensitive to their suffering.
They are seeking electricity and job opportunities for the oil company’s host communities, which include Otuasega, Yiba-Ama (Oruma), Imiringi, and Elebele.
Abah Raniyar, the chairman of the Otuasega Community Development Community (CDC), who joined other community authorities in shutting down the facility, said they would not back down until their demands were granted.
With a succession of rallies over the last months, the SPDC, according to Raniyar, has allowed its demands to linger.
According to him, the community had sent several letters and had an agreement with the oil firm to test-run the host communities’ gas turbine for the purpose of delivering energy on December 14, but there had been no success.
He said that the Bayelsa State government was also aware of the procedures and that the SPDC had failed to uphold its end of the bargain.
The CDC chief said, “Shell has been operating in Otuasega community for more than 50 years now without giving us electricity. We have not had any single person employed in Shell.
“We had an agreement with Shell, we waited and we didn’t get any message from them. So, as a community, we decided to come back to the manifold and state our grievances. The government has also not told us anything.
“We are here to protest and this time, it’s not going to be easy. We intend spending our Christmas here. We are not going to leave this place until our demands are met.”
The community’s assistant secretary, Austin-Sarah Ebredeni, also spoke, saying that the SPDC’s unwillingness to address their suffering was exacerbating the issue and that they would not leave the facility until a favourable result was obtained.
“They (SPDC) should not come and give us excuses anymore,” she remarked.
“We will mobilise our people. We just want light and they have to employ our people; even a cleaner staff we don’t have.”