Delta Community Protests 10 Years of Neglect by Agip

Goddy Egene

The people of Idheze Community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday carried out a  peaceful protest to   bring to  the public court how   the    Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC)  has neglected their community for 10 years.

Women from the community barricaded the road leading to the  oil wells being operated by NAOC,  saying until their  demands are met, they will not allow access to the  company’s facilities.

The Public Relation Officer(PRO) of Idheze Community, Mr. Power Okpure, said in  a statemen that   the community decided to  protest   after a long period of tolerating the neglect and ill-treatment by NAOC.

He said  for over 10 years, NAOC has refused to carry out any infrastructural development in the community, and has refused to give employment to the  people  of the community,  whereas the  company continues to operate,  taking out crude oil and gas.

“The operations of NAOC is guided by the provision that every four years, there ought  to be  a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with our community. The MoU that we signed in 2008 expired in 2011. NAOC refused to sign a new MoU  since then. By our calculation, there ought to have been two separate MoUs between when that of 2008 expired and last year when the government introduced the Petroleum Industrial Act(PIA).  We have appealed to NAOC through the Delta State Ministry of Oil and Gas and other agencies but the company has refused to  listen to us. Hence, we have decided to carry out the protest and we are saying until they compensate us for the years they did not sign MoU, we will not allow them to operate,” he said.

According to him, they have not seen a  company that is so deficient in corporate social responsible but   only good in  fueling  crisis among oil producing communities.

“Before this protest, we have held several meetings with the company that had yielded no fruits.  The Honourable Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Delta State and the Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area have   intervened. But NOAC has refused to accede to our requests. It is very obvious that NAOC is not ready to develop our community. They don’t employ our people. Their  sole  interest is  to  continue to take crude oil and gas from our land without giving anything back. We are saying enough of this injustice,” Okpure declared.

According to him,  as a peace-loving community, they are calling on the relevant government agencies to prevail on NAOC to meet their demands.

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