Agip investigates shutdown of facilities by Bayelsa communities

“Why won’t we be angry with Agip? We don’t have light. We don’t have water. There is no borehole facility.”

Eni, the Italian parent company of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, says it is investigating reports of shutdown of its facilities on Sunday by some Bayelsa communities.

In an email response on Wednesday, Filipo Cotalini, Media Relations Office Manager at Eni, which operates in Nigeria as NAOC, said the Italian energy firm was investigating the incident.

Mr. Cotalini said the firm will issue a statement in due course.

Some Communities at Biseni in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa had shut down five oil wells in Idu Oil Field operated by NAOC.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the oil wells were shut down on Sunday for the alleged failure of Agip to fulfil its social obligations earlier pledged to the aggrieved communities.

The protesting communities, Egbebiri I and II and Akudonu, carried out the action following Agip’s refusal to provide electricity to the communities.

NAOC had allegedly pledged to provide a generator for them one year ago, but has been unable to redeem the pledge.

Community sources said that oil wells 3,6,8,11 and 12 were shut down and put out of production by youth in the area.

The youth blocked the roads leading to the oil wells and kept watch in shifts.

The Secretary of Egbebiri II community, Solomon Ogiama, said the communities took the action after writing to the State Security Services and Joint Task Force.

Mr. Ogiama said that officials of Agip had at a meeting in April 2013 appealed for the understanding of the communities and pledged to supply the generator in May 2013, but were yet to redeem the pledge.

He said Agip had also not awarded contract for the building of doctors and nurses quarters in the area which was part of a General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) the company signed with the communities in 2001.

Mr. Ogiama also said the company had frustrated every peaceful move by the communities for the renewal of the GMoU.

He said Agip had not paid for several surveillance contract jobs executed by indigenous contractors in the area for over nine months, adding that efforts to get the company to settle the debt had proved abortive.

“Why won’t we be angry with Agip? We don’t have light. We don’t have water. There is no borehole facility. We are not happy with the way and manner Agip is treating us,” Mr. Ogiama said.

He insisted that until officials of Agip provide the generator and commence the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, the shutdown will remain in force.


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