LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Members of Kantu and Odidi oil-bearing communities, staged a peaceful protest at Odidi Flow Station, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Punch reports that the protest which took place on 28 March was in condemnation of “frequent pipeline leaks leading to continuous destruction and degradation of the environment and the means of livelihood of the residents.”
The protesters, comprising youths and women bearing placards with different inscriptions, gave the management of NEPL/NECONDE “a seven-day ultimatum within which to commence genuine implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act process and payment of the 3% of 2022 Operating Expenses as stipulated by the PIA with immediate effect.”
The inscriptions on the placards include “Replace Trans Forcados Pipeline now to save our environment,” “Stop treating host community workers with less value,” “We demand scholarships, employment for host communities,” and “Stop hijacking host communities’ contracts, among others.
The residents threatened to shut down operational activities in the entire OML42 in Delta State if their demands are unattended to.
They appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to order the relevant agencies to commence full replacement of the said pipeline instead of the sectional repair works being planned without recourse to its negative implications on communities and the environment.
According to the protesters, the leaking Trans Forcados Pipeline which was constructed in the early 1960s “has outlived its life span long ago, leading to continuous pollution of our environment and destruction of our ecosystem, creating hardship for the locals.”
In a statement jointly signed by the Chairman of Kantu/OML42 Communities Forum and the Chairman, Odidi Federated Communities, Mr Windfree Atemubaghan and Preye Okrikpa, respectively noted that the ageing Trans Forcados Pipeline has been destroying the environment because it has expired and cannot withstand the pressure of crude oil transported through it.
The statement further canvassed for the award of all community-based marine and other service contracts to indigenous contractors, in line with the Nigeria Local Content Act.
Reacting to the development, the Site Superintendent of NECONDE, Ekene Onyenekwe, and the NPDC representative at the flow station, Ayodeji Ayinde, commended the host communities for their peaceful conduct and promised to take their grievances to the appropriate quarters.