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Idheze Community Protests Neglect by Agip

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Idheze Community Protests Neglect by Agip

By Ukoni Henry

The people of Idheze Community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, on Wednesday embarked on a peaceful protest to call the attention of the federal government and Nigerians to the gross neglect by Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) in the past 12 years.

The community women barricaded the road leading to the oil wells being operated by NAOC with placards carrying different inscription AGIP approve all our contracts, Idheze community needs mobile network, Our land has been rendered infertile, AGIP enough of Injustice, No employment for our children no operation, Despite oil wells no employment and AGIP is a heartless company, saying until their demands are met, they will not allow the company access.

Speaking on the development, the Public Relation Officer(PRO) of Idheze Community, Mr. Power Okpure, in a statement, explained that the community came to protest after a long period of tolerating the neglect and ill-treatment by NAOC.

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According to him, for over 12 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 responsibility but only good in fueling crisis.

“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.

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

On her part the women leader of the community Mrs. Felicia Ofuafo described AGIP as an organization who don’t keep to their promised but always deceiving the good people of Idheze community.

She stated that, they promised severally to discuss with us and sign a new MoU with our community until they are yet to fulfill the promise.

She lamented that the company have vehemently refused to do anything for the community, ‘no employment for our children, they have rendered our farmland infertile with their activities.

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