Youths from Agbidiama Community which hosts Opukushi, Tunu and Clough Creek flow stations operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Thursday shut down activities at Opukushi flow station over the failure of SPDC to meet developmental obligations of the community.
President of the community’s youth council, Torke Ekpetun, said Shell had failed to dialogue with the community as the oil servicing companies operating in the area have failed to provide employment and empowerment for the community members.
He added that Shell has also failed to engage indigenous firms for catering services, and has neglected the community leaders.
He also said they were protesting the failure of the oil firm to recognise the leadership of the youth as the duly constituted authority for employment in the area and other matters connected with oil and gas operations.
Ekpetun also bemoaned the neglect of the welfare and wellbeing of the youth executives since 2018 by Clinthwealth Nigeria Limited, an oil services firm providing services at the oilfield operated by the SPDC.
He described as unacceptable the maltreatment of workers on site and failure to pay community workers end of contract bonus as provided for in the employment contract.
He further expressed worry over the refusal of oil services firm retained to work at the oilfields by SPDC to implement workers’ annual salary increment at the end of every work circle.
According to him, the refusal of the SPDC and other firms operating in the area to donate palliatives as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility during the COVID-19 lockdown is regrettable.
He also said part of the reasons for the protest was the alleged failure to secure Freedom to Operate (FTO) for contractors before coming to site for execution of jobs, stressing that the development had denied the community of the accruable benefits.
Ekpetun called on the companies involved to retrace their steps in the interest of peace by according to the host communities what are due them.
He frowned on the current situation where the host communities bore the adverse impact of operations of the oil firms with little or no benefit and called for an end to the anomaly in the interest of both parties.