28 April 2014, Yenagoa—Aggrieved elders and youths of the coastal town of Okoroba in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have sent a protest letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and the state governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, over alleged invasion of their community by contractors hired by Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, to clean-up the massive oil spillage in the area.
According to the aggrieved indigenes, the contractor hired by the oil company allegedly arrived the community with over 50 youths and 20 armed men brandishing AK47 and double-barrel guns to harass their youths and chiefs that visited the site to protest and ask the contractor to leave pending the resolution of contentious issues on the spillage, cleanup and compensation.
In the protest letter, the aggrieved indigenes, through their spokesman, Mr. Gift Douglas, said that the action of Agip Oil Company has added a sad and dangerous dimension to the oil spillage that occurred on February 16, along the Brass/Ogoda pipeline within pillar 14 and 16 which impacted adjoining land within pillar 17 -27 in Okoroba Kingdom.
According to the statement, though the Okoroba community has hosted Nigerian Agip Oil Company based on the acquisition of the massive hectares of land around 1971/72 by the multi-national, the relationship has always been that of a master and servant -based on the company operational policy with the people of Okoroba.
“The company has demonstrated total contempt and disregard for the various memoranda of understanding it entered into with the community. The most recent spill is as a result of equipment failure and has occasioned untold hardship to the people of Okoroba and their environment.
Looming hunger and diseases
“Our environment which is the only source of our survival is now rendered impotent and hunger and water-borne diseases are looming in our various fishing settlements. We totally condemn the deployment of double standard and the introduction of the divide and rule tactics in the resolution of the issues that are associated with the spill.
“We wish to state that NAOC will fail in its mission to ignite communal crisis with our brothers (Agrisaba). We want a life of peace and harmony with our neighbours regardless of their unprovoked deployment of the instrument of violence and death.”
– Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard