Hundreds of youth from Koluama communities in Bayelsa State have barricaded the North Apoi oil platform operated by Chevron over non-payment of compensation for the rig blowout which occurred in January 2012.
The explosion sparked off a fire that burned at the oil rig for over 50 days before it was put out.
The youth, who asked for compensation for their communities, vowed to occupy the facility until Chevron accepts responsibility for the 2012 gas explosion.
The Secretary, Koluama 2, Youths Association in Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa, Temo Ebra, said the youth boarded the platform Sunday to demand compensation for the 2012 rig fire.
“After several unsuccessful peaceful attempts to resolve pending issues of the January 2012 gas fire incidents, Chevron has refused to take responsibility and rather the company is saying that the incident did not impact the people,” Mr. Ebra said.
“The statement from Chevron last week on AIT was very provocative so the youths summoned the courage to take over one of their platforms, precisely the North Apoi.
“The youths will occupy the platform until Chevron does something meaningful, the protest must continue, this was a site that the Minister of Petroleum visited and the company has not done anything for over two years.
“The company has not shown any sensitivity to the plight of the affected communities and shunned all efforts to dialogue some community people working in the rig appealed to the youths but they insisted on staying at the rig,” Mr. Ebra said.
He said the youth had stormed the Apoi North field operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited off Bayelsa coastline in the Atlantic in several speedboats and boarded the oil production platform.
Mr. Ebra said raid of the platform by the unarmed youth took the security forces guarding the platform by surprise and when they saw that the youth were unarmed and on a peaceful protest, they allowed the youth to board the platform.
When contacted for comments, Adesola Adebawo, Chevron’s Manager in charge of Communications Policy, Government and Public Affairs said the oil firm will react to the development in due course.
Security sources at the oilfield had confirmed that the youth boarded the platform successfully and posed no security threat to oil and gas production.