By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
Residents of Oleh community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State have protested against the alleged marginalization, vibrations and noise coming from the operations of a multinational oil company, Nigeria, AGIP oil company (NADC)
Oleh community said the company neglects and marginalises them especially in the area of employment and development.
The community protested against the company’s facility on Saturday, calling on the federal and state government to intervene in the issue.
The community said that in spite of years of operating in their locality, the firm has continued to maintain a nonchalant attitude towards their appeals, stressing that the company should not take their peaceful demostration for granted.
The residents of the community carried placards with inscriptions like “stop marginalising Oleh community”, “we need flow station”, “give our youths direct employment”, “Pay us for the noise pollution and cracking of our buildings etc.
Prince Erube Oghogho, who is the youth chairman of the Community, Oil Landlords, while speaking with newsman said ”the heavy noise pollution from the company’s operations has led to the cracking of several houses near the facility.
”Several efforts had been made on our part to get Agip to accede to our demands, but the company keeps ignoring them.
“We are here to protest Agip’s neglect and marginalisation of our community. We have cried to them severally but they have refused to listen to us. They promised to build a flow station here after drilling their 5th oil well here but as we speak they haven’t done anything in that regard yet they are planning to drill a 6th well.
“The company looks down on us because we are peaceful people and they feel we are nobody before them. We are landlords and we are entitled to the benefits of the oil that is here.
“The lands that our fathers and mothers were farming on they have collected them from us. They didn’t pay what was expected of them. They have been tricking us over the years.
“Despite all the oil they drill from our land no single Oleh son works in the company as a direct staff. What they give to us is casual works and after three months they retrench them. Sometime ago they trained some of our youths on Skill Acquisition since then they haven’t presented any starter packs to them.
“Now our mothers are here saying enough is enough, if they don’t employ their youths and empower the women they are not going back home again,” Oghogho said.
One of the resident of the area, Engr. Okolo Joseph, said ”Agip’s noise, test of the facility, that the noise level and vibrations were unacceptable, considering the cracks and other health hazards they have caused buildings.
The Delta State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Chief Emmanuel Amgbaduba, when contacted he ”ask the people to desist from protesting and instead forward a letter to the ministry stating the issues.
He said, ”The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration is committed to ensuring peaceful relations between oil companies and host communities.
“I appeal to the protesters to desist from protests. I know it is within their rights to protest but in the interest of life and property I want to appeal to them to write a letter to the Ministry of Oil and Gas identifying all the issues raised at the protest.
“We have a Governor who has all ears open and he listens to complains of that nature, so if they have any complain concerning labour issues, flow stations or anything contract related against, they should write to the Ministry of Oil and Gas, we are quite ready to look into it by calling both parties or stakeholders together and proffer solution.
“In Delta State, we have a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoUs) which guides the activities of oil companies and their host communities. With such GMoUs, we capture the interest of the communities, the oil companies and the government, and I can assure them that no interests will be left out since all parties must be present during the signing of such GMoUs.”