-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –From Michael EKOKOROWE:
Women and Men in their numbers from nine host communities of Isoko South, Isoko North and Ndokwa East local government area of Delta State, has staged a peaceful protest against Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), over unpaid six months surveillance security slots and gave 21 days ultimatum to shut down oil facilities, at Irri flow station, Isoko South local government area.
The protesters while chanting songs of marginalization and deprivation, blocked the road and entrance gate of the company with erected canopy and displayed placards with the inscription from each community as we the people of Okpe – Isoko protest to Nigeria Agip Oil Company for non – payment of 6 months salaries on the surveillance jobs given to the community”.
The angry protesters from Irri, Idheze Orie and OKpe – Isoko in Isoko South and North and Ibrede, Asemuku, Abalagada, Beneku in Ndokwa East local government area, besieged the company’s gate, throw debris into the company premises, and demanded for the payment of the 6 months Agip surveillance security salaries.
Speaking to newsmen, hon. Marcus Idike, chairman Idheze community and chairman of the nine aggrieved host’s communities on surveillance issues stated that on the 22nd December 2020, the Nigeria Agip Oil Company management terminated contractors work on surveillance security and gave it to hosts communities to protect their facilities, just as the information was passed to various communities.
Idike further stated that the company agreed to pay each person employed to protect pipeline / flow line, wellhead location and manifold in various hosts communities forty thousand Naira (N40,000.00) monthly, adding that the work commenced on 1st of January 2021, with a mandate to protect the company’s facilities.
He maintained that the management of Nigeria Agip Oil Company requested for individual names from various communities for payment, but waited from January to February 2021, and wrote a reminder letter of payment, even as the company requested for four person signatories from the host communities.
Idike noted that the company sent Mou to the various communities, requesting signatories before payment, but the Mou was rejected as it does not reflect what Nigeria Agip oil firm agreed with the host’s communities during 21st and 22nd of December 2020 meeting, adding that no more contractors just as the Mou did not give detailed explanation of numbers of slots from various host communities over pipeline / flow line, wellhead and manifold facilities.
He maintained that the MoU never reflected direct payment of N40, 000.00 monthly salaries to workers and date of payment for each month’s salary was not stated.
Idike warned that with effect from 29th of June 2021, all surveillance workers employed to protect the company’s facilities stands withrawn, adding that no servicing company will be allowed to work in any wellhead or pipeline / flow line.
Idike stressed that the agreement reached on 22nd of December 2020, must not be changed by any contractor, adding that after three weeks, if the salaries are not paid, the hosts communities will shut down all facilities of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, emphasizing that it will no longer be peaceful.
For his part, the Community Development Committee secretary of Abalagada community, Ndokwa East local government area, Hon. Innocuous Obi said, Nigeria Agip oil company has taken the hosts communities magnanimity for granted.
He noted that Mr. Stanley Umukoro, manager security department, Mr. West Biobele, security department and Mr. Julius Attah, stakeholders management department that represented the company has failed the people.
He added that the company’s representative promised not to engage contractors, even as the surveillance work has been handed over to members of various hosts communities. He stressed that the Mou presented was rejected by host’s communities because the people were sidelined and marginalized.
He stated that Nigeria Agip Oil Company has undermined hosts communities and requested for immediate payment of the over 80 slots salaries according to wellhead, pipeline / flow line and manifold surveillance security work.