Rivers Community Pickets NAOC, Demands N100bn Compensation

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Group of people, including men, women and youths of Mgbuosimini community in Rumueme, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State yesterday shut down activities at the operational headquarters of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) Limited in the area.

The community members who were demanding N100billion compensation from the company for years of alleged neglect and damages, stormed the main gate of Agip as early as 6 a.m. and stopped workers from accessing their workplace.

They alleged that the oil giant has not lived up to their expectations in the community.

In a statement issued during the demonstration, the acting Chairman of Mgbuoshimini Community Development Council (CDC), Weli Nyeche, said they shut down Agip to drive home lingering issues. Parts of the 10-point demands of Mgbuoshimini community include: “That the community hears that Agip Oil Company Limited has been sold to OandO Plc without carrying the host Mgbuoshimini community along knowing that Agip does not have an absolute lease on our ancestral land among many other legal issues. This is unacceptable and we demand justice.

“That Agip should pay the sum of one hundred billion naira to the Mgbuosimini community in compensation for over 60 years of neglect and several damages caused the Mgbuosimini community.

“That the irreducible demand of the Mgbuoshimini community is that any invitation for a meeting should be backed by an invitation letter to the Mgbuoshimini community chairman signed by the GMD of which the meeting shall be led by the managing director himself since the district management has failed, refused and neglected to resolve the issues.”

Nyeche continued: “That Agip should ensure to implement fully the items in our 16-paragraph Charter of Demands or the community will sustain the peaceful protest until the demands are met.

“That Nigerian Agip Oil Company should stop using Mgbuoshimini community as a platform to undermine Nigeria’s national security and institutions by sponsoring crisis and wanted groups.

“That Crema Giordano, the general manager, District of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited must be made to face the law for his racist disposition towards Nigerians in NAOC, including the Mgbuoshimini community and this fact is not in dispute.

“That all known management staff of NAOC who have been promoting crisis in Mgbuoshimini community and working against the interest of the host community must be brought to justice.

“That NAOC should comply with the judgments of the court in respect of the rightful traditional authority in Rumueme Kingdom as it also affects Mgbuoshimini interest and Rumueme Kingdom in general with a view to stop trading our rights and entitlements to impostors.”

Another stakeholder in Mgbuoshimini community, Livingstone Wechie, said: “The demands are very clear. NAOC for over 60 years’ operations in Mgbuoshimini, which plays host to its operational headquarters in Nigeria, has been neglected with impunity.

“We are saying that Mgbuoshimini community deserves protection. Our community cannot be used as a killing field. We are demanding that Mgbuoshimini community should be given its rightful place in the affairs of Nigerian Agip Oil Company as entitled by the laws of this country.”

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