activities at Twon Brass, hosts to Agip’s Oil Export Terminal in Bayelsa have remained grounded as residents continued to occupy the premises of the oil firm even when power supply has been partially restored.
Residents had on May 14 disrupted activities at the oil firm by blocking access to the facility in protest of alleged two month power outage and neglect of social obligations by management of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The management of Eni, Italian parent company of NAOC had in a statement on May 21 announced that power supply to the area had been restored following repair work on a power cable damaged by thunderstorms.
Howevwell, Mr Taribalalate George, a resident of Twon Brass said in a telephone interview on Monday that the power situation was yet to stabilise and hence the people were still at the protest site.
“As we speak, there is no power in Twon Brass but they brought the light on Thursday (May 20) but it has been going off and on and we are suspicious that it is a ploy to disperse the people while the power issue persists.
“The protest is still on, because we have so many issues bothering on Agip’s neglect of their social obligations as spelt out in our Memorandum of Understanding but it was the power outage that sparked off the protest and we insist all other issues are resolved as well,” George said.
He explained that the community leadership and some government officials were expected to come to the protest site at Agip’s Terminal gate to interact with the protesters and update them on progress made in the negotiations but they did not show up as of Monday morning.
He said that the women were at the front lines while the youths remained at the fringes to avert further escalation and conflict with armed soldiers deployed to protect the facility to ensure that the agitation for community development remained peaceful.
The protest became rowdy on May 19 when the monarch King Alfred Diette-Spiff appealed to the protesters to disperse while their grievances were being discussed with NAOC but the angry mob attacked the monarch who was whisked out while a 24 year old was shot in the process.
Eni, had in a reaction to request for comments on the protest claimed that power had been restored while the protest did not adversely impact oil export from the Brass Terminal.
“An electrical cable connecting the terminal to the community was damaged by a lightning bolt, leaving therefore the Community without electricity. This led to peaceful protests at the Brass terminal gate.
“The repair job has been done on urgent basis and power to the Community has been fully restored today (Friday).
“Production has not been impacted and we expect the normalization of operations in the next few days,” Eni stated.