A man, Ikiowori Benson, from Sangana community in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State has been shot dead and many others injured by security operatives suspected to be soldiers guarding a facility operated by Consolidated Oil and Gas Limited (Conoil) after they opened fire on protesting youths.
City & Crime gathered that the protest which was staged close to the sea where Conoil operates a facility, Antie The Matriarch Julie, an offshore oil platform in 0ML 59, provoked the soldiers attached to the facility and they allegedly opened fire on the youths as they approached the facility to demand the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Conoil and community.
The Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Sangana, Comrade Reuben Preboye, said that Conoil, which had been operating in the community for about 25 years, was delaying the implementation of the MoU.
He said, “The MoU is for three years and is subject to renewal. The 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022 MoUs have not been implemented and have accumulated over N300m to N420m worth of projects.
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“On a yearly basis, the youth wing of the community changes its leadership. By our arrangement, we are to hold four quarterly meetings with Conoil.
“This year, the youth leadership has been disturbing Conoil for a meeting. We are almost in the second quarter and even the first meeting hasn’t been held.
“Unfortunately, in the 25 years they have operated in our community, they haven’t employed anybody from Sangana despite the community having many qualified persons.
“Even on the 2021 Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) implementation, Conoil doesn’t want to comply with the federal government’s law to set up a Host Community Development Trust as stipulated in the PIA.
“Then on the major gas leak that made the company evacuate all personnel onboard the facility which caused toxic air and water contamination that affected people in the community, Conoil refused to pay compensation and send medical personnel to treat our people.
“It’s a very pathetic situation we are facing, I have not seen such an irresponsible oil company.”
When contacted, the police spokesman in Bayelsa State, SP Asinim Butswat, told City & Crime that there was no police personnel guarding the Conoil facility in Sangana.
Also, the spokesman of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Major Adenegan Ojo, terminated a call when he realised that it was a journalist that wanted to make inquiries. He did not also reply to an SMS sent to him about the incident.