From FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa
Tension is building in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State as the youths of flooded communities yesterday threatened to barricade roads leading to oil installations in the area if multinational corporations operating in the area refuse to assist flooded communities. The youths under the aegis of Ogbia Brotherhood Youth Wing condemned the lackluster attitude of oil companies and wondered why they had shown lack of interest in the plight of the communities. The National President of the group, Mr. Dabiza Apiri stated that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the National Agip Oil Company (NAOC) should incorporate the disaster into their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Apiri, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, called on the SPDC to convene an emergency meeting on how it would help victims, adding that as the major oil company it should accelerate the process of repairing the Edipie-Imiringi Bridge, which had been washed away by flood. The statement reads in part: “The bridge provides the only access to the host communities of SPDC in the local government area. It was constructed by the old Brass Local Government Area and it was in a bad shape before the floods.
“But the floodwater has dealt a heavy blow on the bridge breaking it into parts. SPDC should reconstruct it to reduce the plight of commuters.” He appealed to the companies to provide food, water, clothes and funds to victims of the disaster in their host communities. The oil companies, he said, should also participate in evacuating affected persons to relief camps established by the government.
“We warn that failure on the part of the oil giants to identify with the plight of the host communities may trigger reactions from the youths from the length and breadth of the Ogbia Kingdom. It will also lead to closure of the only access road to Ogbia host communities.” Meanwhile, a delegation from Agip led by its Managing Director, Mr. Ciro Pagano has visited Bayelsa State to donate relief materials to flood victims.
Pagano explained that the relief materials were to assist the state government in its efforts to alleviate the suffering of Bayelsa communities affected by flood especially those from its host communities in Ogbia, Ekeremor, Nembe, Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw local government areas.