Residents of Ojobo community, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Wednesday, shutdown Beneside Flow station operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) as a way of protest.
The protesters, some of whom were half-clad women in their hundreds stormed the facility in speed boats and wooden canoes in the early hours of yesterday and stationed themselves on available spaces on the twin houseboats meant for staff of the flow station.
This act followed expiration of a 48hours ultimatum given to SPDC to address issues contained in a pre-existing General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) the company entered with the community.
Addressing newsmen at the scene of the protest, spokesperson for the protesters, Prince Doubra Baro, demanded an immediate take-off of a Community Interdependency Electrification Project (CIEP – Gas Turbine), which, according to him the community and SPDC mutually agreed upon and signed under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2001.
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“We are demanding for the immediate release of the GMoU fund which is being withheld by a popular bank in connivance with SPDC. We also demand that SPDC should revisit and implement its abandoned legacy projects as well as the immediate employment opportunities for Ojobo indigenes into SPDC at all levels which has been denied since 1971, and that EMVAL and /or any other subsidiary company currently operating or working at Benisede Flow Station should stop forthwith and there should be no further award of contracts to non-indigenous contractors at Benisede”, he added.
The community demanded an explanation as to when, how and where the purported June 2005 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Final Report of Benisede Catchment Area Field Development Plan (FDP) Phase II was carried out, a demand that due royalties are paid to Ojobo community for the illegal Horizontal Drilling at Osuopele Oil Field (OML 46) since its discovery in 1977.
Further demand by the community, “Educationally, we ask that specific scholarship quota be given to Ojobo Community indigenes that are in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, that the Tenancy Agreement between Ojobo Community and SPDC in 1971 be renegotiated for fairness, equity and justice, and that indigenous company owners be allowed to register with SPDC.”
Efforts to speak with the Community Relations Officer in charge of the flow station, proved abortive.