From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

There is palpable tension in Peremabiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following the shutting down of Diebu Creek Nun River Flow Station by aggrieved members of the community.

The community, after several overtures to Shell Petroleum to address issues surrounding neglect of the community and its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), decided to invade the flow station disrupting its operations. The aggrieved community people vowed not to vacate the flow station until their grievances have been addressed.

The community leadership, comprising the Community Development Committee (CDC), the Woman Leader and the Youth President, also shunned an invitation to attend a peace meeting at the behest of the Bayelsa State government.   

At the meeting attended by other representatives of the community and that of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the Bayelsa State Government urged host communities to resist the temptation of disrupting the operations of oil companies in the state without exhausting legitimate means of conflict resolutions.

The State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who chaired the meeting, condemned the act of occupying oil facilities as a form of protest to disrupt oil production, stressing that such actions were not in the best interest of the state.

He pointed out that frequent occupation of oil facilities does not only portray the state in a bad light; but, also, deprives it of reasonable revenues for infrastructure and other development purposes.

Related News

Ewhrudjakpo maintained that forcibly taking over and shutting down oil flow stations was one of the reasons genuine investors were being chased away from doing business in Bayelsa and Rivers States to places like Lagos State.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo expressed displeasure over the refusal of the Peremabiri CDC Chairman and youth president to attend the meeting. He described the behaviour as uncalled for and an affront to the state government, warning individuals and communities not to take the peaceful disposition of Governor Douye Diri-led administration for granted.

Consequently, the Deputy Governor called on the Peremabiri people to vacate the occupied flow station in their own interest and for the common good of the state.

He said: “We are surprised that the CDC chairman, the youth president, and the woman leader of Peremabiri are not here.

        They are currently occupying the flow station at Peremabiri, and the danger is that, if they are not careful and anything happens, everybody would be consumed. Maybe, they don’t know the danger involved in occupying that flow station and it’s not in their best interest.

“If they have issues with the SPDC, there is always a ground for discussion, hence, this meeting was convened to discuss the timeline and other aspects of the project they are agitating for, and they are not here. They should know that after God, it’s governmental power.

“If the office of the deputy governor is inviting them on behalf of the governor for a meeting, why would the CDC chairman and other community leaders refuse to attend? They should not overstretch the resolve of the government or test our will to be decisive and coercive when and where necessary. This resort to violence to press home demands has deprived our region, the Niger Delta Region of investments, and has forced the oil companies to move from Port Harcourt to Lagos.”