Bayelsa Orders Reopening of Oil Wells Shut down by Aggrieved Communities

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Following a meeting by stakeholders in Bayelsa State to resolve issues with oil-producing communities, the state government on Thursday ordered the leadership of Ogboinbiri community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, to reopen all closed oil wells.

It was gathered that the oil facilities mainly belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), operating in Bayelsa, have not been producing due to outstanding disagreements with the oil giant.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Oil and Gas Matters, Mr. Felix Ayah, who gave the charge during a meeting with the community leaders and representatives in Yenagoa, assured of government’s resolve to resolve all their grievances.

Ayah said it was necessary for the community to allow smooth operations of the sites while dialogue continued in order to pave the way for a sustainable peaceful co-existence between the community and the multinational oil company.

Ogboinbiri community had closed down operations of Agip in the area, following a conflict with the multinational company over the alleged non-provision of basic amenities to the community.

The governor’s aide said the meeting was to seek solutions to issues bordering on the non-implementation of people-oriented projects which culminated in the shutting down of the company operations in the area.

He added that the state government would invite officials of the NAOC over the various unresolved issues raised by the leadership of Ogboinbiri community.
He assured the aggrieved host communities in the state of government’s efforts and sincerity in settling their differences.

Ayah regretted that most host communities had been deprived of social amenities such as healthcare services, potable water, electricity supply, among others by multinationals oil companies.

The coastal community had cited the abandonment of a shore protection job by the company, non-employment of indigenes, absence of electricity, water and other amenities as some of the reasons for shutting down the facilities.