Niger-Delta Communities Deny Threatening Saipem, Others

By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Ijaw communities across Delta and Bayelsa states have denied ever issuing any notice to Sapiem and other oil companies operating in their communities to quit or face dire consequences.
Oil-rich coastal communities of Ojobo,Ogbotobo and Tarakiri Cluster Development Board (TCDB) comprising Egbemo Angalabiri Ojobo,Ogbotobo, Agbayama, Agbidiama and other satellite communities spread across Burutu and Ekeremo local government areas of Delta and Bayelsa states, respectively, said that at no time did they issue Saipem and others such notice.
The communities acknowledged the fact that the different oil firms were contributing positively to their local economies especially through various projects they were presently executing under the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solution Project (SSAGS).
The communities, therefore, warned “those fanning embers of war” between the different oil producing communities and oil firms to desist immediately.
Their common position on the subject was contained in separate statements made available to newsmen in Warri at the weekend and duly signed by Chief Bekewei Warekromor (Amananaowei of Ojobo community); Mr Tari Areprekumo (Chairman, Ojobo community); Chief Perry George (Ogbotobo CT Chairman); and, Dr Prince Jude Ebibokefie (Chairman, TCDB).
Specifically, the community leaders explained that the issue of some contractual irregularities between them and Italian oil contracting firm, Saipem, did not exist.
There was also no iota of truth in the allegation that the leadership of the communities were mobilizing their youths to demonstrate at the embassies simply to embarrass Sapiem, the statements said.
Moreover, they denied that communities in the locality had raised questions about being denied whatever was due to their respective communities since the SSAGS project commenced, saying only mischief makers could threaten shutdown of oil facilities in the communities under the guise of purported breach in contractual agreement.
One of the statements noted, “As a people, we did not at any time request or call on SPDC to stop Saipem from handling its oil and gas projects within our communities. It is also not true that our youths are being mobilized by us to protest in embassies against Saipem’s continued presence in our communities.