Youths sack workers from marginal oil field in A/Ibom

29 February 2012, Sweetcrude, UYO – Members of the Mbo Youths Development Association have forced oil workers out of the Stubb Creek Marginal Oil Field in Unyenge in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state.

The youths, who besieged the oil field in their hundreds, disrupted operations in the field, which is being operated by Universal Energy Resources Ltd, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The youths blocked the two roads leading to the oil field and turned back vehicles carrying the oil workers who were on their way to work.

Some contactors who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they would stay away from the site until the conflict between the Mbo communities and Universal Energy Resources was resolved.

Officials of the company were seen appealing to the youths to allow the issues at stake to be resolved amicably with the management of the firm.

It took a police team from the Mbo Division, led by Anietie Eyo, a Police Superintendant, to disperse the angry protesters.

The police later invited representatives of both sides to a meeting at the Area Command Headquarters in Oron.

Speaking with NAN, Mr Eteka Etim, Youth President of the Mbo youth association, explained that the communities were protesting the refusal of the oil firm operating in the area to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with them.

“We are here to block the company called Universal Energy because of their neglect to the people of Orukun, and entire Mbo.

“We don’t want them to continue with their work except they come down and sign the memorandum of understanding that every other community of Mbo will have equal share.

“And we want to know the position also in the sharing formula – how they arrange, Mbo local government is not only Unyenge community; the community of Mbo is comprising the five, which is Egwang, Ebuhu, Efiat and Udesi not Unyenge alone as their host.

“So we want them to make sure they come down and they sign the MoU before any operation forward, else the work should stop; that’s our position.”

The company in question looked deserted when NAN Correspondent visited the site.
However, reliable sources at the Oron Area Command of the Police in Akwa Ibom confirmed the disruption of operations at the oil field.

The source added that the Area Commander, Mr. Ene Okon, had ordered the arrest and detention of the youth leaders.

Pirates kidnap two in attack off Nigeria
29 February 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – Armed pirates opened fire on a cargo ship in an attack off the Nigerian coast, kidnapping the captain and chief engineer and robbing the crew before escaping, a maritime watchdog said Wednesday.

Tuesday’s attack also left one crew member missing and another injured, according to AFP report, quoting the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.

The report said the attack was the latest in a series of incidents indicating heightened piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The assault at about 1500 GMT Tuesday targeted a Dutch-owned, Curacao-flagged refrigerated cargo ship that was anchored near the coast, said Noel Choong, head of the IMB’s Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre.

A group of about eight pirates armed with guns carried out the attack on the ship, which had a crew of 14, he said, adding that Nigerian authorities had been alerted.

Choong said he had received no word yet on the fate of those reported missing or whether any ransom was being demanded.

“The attacks off the Nigerian coast are very violent and they are increasing,” Choong said.
“So far we have seen seven attacks off Nigeria this year and one off of Benin. So that makes eight since the beginning of the year and we believe many more attacks may have gone unreported.”

Two weeks ago, pirates fired on a cargo vessel off Nigeria, killing the ship’s captain, according to the IMB.

Choong said that vessel’s chief engineer died from a fall during the attack, correcting earlier reports that he also had been shot dead.

That ship was Panamanian-flagged but its owners were Taiwanese, he said.
The IMB has said other recent attacks in the area included a tanker that was hijacked south of Nigeria earlier in February. Nigerian vessels intercepted that ship and rescued its crew.

The IMB, which is funded by shipowners, warned in September that the seas off Benin, Nigeria’s neighbour, were emerging as a new piracy “hotspot” due to the weak enforcement capabilities of governments in the region.

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