Angry Bayelsans protests against Conoil


– Accuses oil company of gross negligence

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Aggrieved indigenes of Sangana kingdom, in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over the weekend staged a peaceful protest over the killing 25-year-old Ikiowori Benson by soldiers attached to Conoil facility.

The angry Elders, youths, and women, dressed in black and placards with inscriptions ‘We are tired of Conoil oppression’, ‘Stop killing us,’ ‘Stop the shooting, stop the killing,’ ‘Why kill an innocent youth, Ikiowori Benson is dead;’ ‘Why now, 25 years of operation in Sangana and nothing to amount for’ berated the oil company for negligence on its Corporate Social Responsibility and demanded that the operators of the oil company come and address the lingering issues with stakeholders of the area or vacate the area.

Speaking with newsmen, the immediate past IYC Chairman, Sangana clan, Otonbara Sigimo, said they were all out to express their anger over the ill treatment by Conoil adding that the negligence by the company can’t be overlooked anymore.

According to him, several years after the signing of a series of MoUs, the company has failed to abide by any provisions agreed upon forcing the people to come to the conclusion that the company is unserious.

He said “We are not happy and we have endured for so long, few days ago we went on a peaceful protest and the result was the shooting of our brother. What was his sin, or what is our sin? We just went to have a peaceful discussion but rather they brought military men to kill us. They must leave our territory because they don’t mean well.

On his part, the youth President of Sangana community, Ayah Ambrose, said the community has not derived any benefit from the oil being drilled on their land.

“This current issue caused the death of our brother which was so needless, because we were not holding anything appearing as a weapon but they rather shot at us.

Also speaking, the Chairman, IYC central Zone, Clever Inodu, who expressed solidarity with the people warned that if the matter is not 48 hours, the youth body would mobilize people to the oil platform for another round of protest.

The Amanayabo of Moko Ama Sangana Kingdom, HRH Moses Kenibara, expressed anger that the community has been hosting Conoil for over 25 years without commensurate benefit.

“They have rather impoverished the community. Before they started operation, there was no impact assessment of the area. The community has been talking to them but they blatantly refused. They signed MOUs with the community but never implemented it. This is not acceptable because it isn’t the standard of operation and we are aggrieved. Enough of the oppression, intimidation, and all the ill treatment from this company.

A source in the company said the Conoil would respond in due course if all the issues are listed and sent via e-mail.

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