Bayelsa community pickets Agip Terminal over power outage, MoU

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — Twon Brass community in Brass Island, Bayelsa State, has commenced the picketing of Agip’s Crude Export Terminal, in protest against two months power outage in the area and non implementation of MoU by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.

The community, which hitherto has had uninterrupted electricity for years from Agip, said the power outage commenced since March 2021 and had crippled economic activities in the coastal area, causing the people untold hardship.

SweetCrude Reports gathered that the picketing which began since Friday May 14th 2021, has disrupted activities at the premises of the oil firm on the Brass Island near the Atlantic coastline.

Community members comprising women, youths and elders have continued to occupied and blocked access to Agip’s operational office, beating drums and singing solidarity songs demanding immediate restoration of power.

Speaking, Community Development Committee Chairman of Twon Brass, Mr. Benjamin Obuala, said Agip has refused to fix the power plant which serves the community, but has continued to maintain the gas turbine used for its operations.

Obuala also said the protest was necessitated by the non implementation of the MoU which the company has with the community, including provison of potable water and other community development projects.

“We in Twon Brass have been used to having reliable power for a long time now, and this outage which happened has left us in total darkness since March. Before this time the turbine had been having issues and the officials have made promises to replace the turbine.

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“We have been enduring for more than two months now and the situation has become unbearable. The provision of electricity is a social obligation by Agip to us and we cannot fold our arms when they show insensitivity to our economic interests.

“This power crisis has wrecked our businesses especially fishing as the cold storage facilities are out of service as well as those dealing on perishable food items and our women have said that they can no longer bear it so we supported them.

“Here the use of generators is not widespread as only very few people have generators so when this outage happened it caught many people unawares leading to unquantifiable losses but the oil firm has been looking the other way and not doing anything to redeem their unfulfilled pledges.

“The neglect of other social obligations listed in our Memorandum of Understanding including community development projects, provision of potable water having polluted the Brass Canal is also part of our grievances.

“We regret that our efforts to use the appropriate channels to resolve these have all been rebuffed by the management of Agip but we have expressed restraint and kept our protest peaceful.

“We have remained on this protest for four days now and we shall remain resolute until Agip shows concern to our plight.”

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