21 July 2015, Yenagoa – The Koroama community, host to Shell Petroleum Development Company’s Gbarain-Ubie Integrated Gas Plant in Bayelsa State, has shut down the gas field.
Members of the community carried out the action to demand electricity supply from the power plant component of the facility.
Scores of youths, women and elders of the community blocked the access road to the facility and forced work at the gas plant to be suspended.
The Paramount Ruler of Koroama in Yenagoa Local Government Area, Chief Sabu Martins, who addressed the aggrieved members of his community, urged them to remain resolute until their objectives were realised.
The monarch lamented that the community though endowed with oil and gas, had suffered the adverse impact of gas flaring and deserved constant supply of electricity generated with gas from the area to ameliorate the residents’ sufferings.
He noted that that the protest had been going on for the past three weeks and had forced the contractors to vacate the community until the oil firm gave a commitment to provide electricity to the community.
Martins said, “Today, my people and I are protesting to the SPDC and to the Federal Government. Koroama is a host community and has the largest proved gas and oil reserves in the entire Shell operations in this area.
“We have agreed that we will die here if light, the only demand we make, is not given to us. Then, Shell will never operate on our land; we have given them time to remove their things, we want the government to intervene.”
Also addressing the protesters, Miss Ankio Briggs, a community rights activist, noted that the demands of the people hosting the gas plant was modest.
Briggs said, “What I have heard them say today is not different from what has been said for a very long time; what they are demanding is in line with what Adaka Boro demanded. This story about host communities, who I call the owners of the resources, is about self-determination; it is about corporate social responsibility and the demand is just and right.
“I call on the government of Bayelsa State, the Federal Government and Shell to look into the demand although it is not the duty of Shell to provide electricity for Nigerians, but it is a social and moral obligation to their hosts.”
The spokesperson for Shell, Joseph Obari, said that the oil firm had difficulties meeting the demands of electricity supply from its gas plant to the host communities due to limited capacity.