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Bayelsa community protests as explosion rocks Agip trunkline

Nigerian News Update » Nigerian Newspapers
Punch Newspaper
The people of Ayamassa community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State say they are prepared for a showdown with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company over a pipeline explosion that occurred in the community last week.

The trunkline, which is said to be owned by Agip, reportedly exploded last Tuesday and was allegedly in flames for two days before the firm’s contractors came to put out the fire without due consultation with the community leaders.

The Ayamassa community-folks claimed that the explosion, which rocked the area, devastated the community’s means of livelihood.

They, therefore, gave the management of the oil company one week ultimatum to do the needful following the pipeline fire otherwise they would shut down the company.

The Ayamassa-Toumo trunkline, which exploded and caught fire last week, reportedly destroyed farming and aquatic lives in the community.

Reacting to the incident, the Chairman, Ijaw Youth Council, Central Zone, Tare Porri, noted that youths from the community were currently “spoiling for war,’’ threatening to shut down the operations of the platform.

Porri said, “the Ayamassa end of the trunkline got exploded and the fire was on for two days before Agip’s pipeline contractors put it out and left the community without a word.

“Up until now, the community has not heard from them and the community folks are now threatening to shut down the operations of that platform.’’

Porri lamented that it was sad that no official of Agip and the Federal Government’s agencies visited the site or the community to assess the damages caused by the explosion.

He noted that most of the pipelines criss-crossing the zone had expired, calling on the oil companies to replace them in the interest of peace and security.

Porri added, “Most of the explosion, most of the things that happen in the environment are not caused by Ijaw youths. Ijaw youths are law-abiding, Ijaw youths are not fighters and we are hard-working.

“I want to say that all the multinational oil companies that are operating in our zone, should please, as a matter of urgency, commence the process of replacing all the pipelines across the central zone that have expired, as we will no longer tolerate corrosion, explosion and equipment failure.”

Meanwhile, the factional President of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, has called on Agip to respect the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with its host communities in the Niger Delta.

He also urged the oil major to observe international best practices in the oil and gas industry in its operations to avoid shut down of Agip oil operations in the region.

Omare gave the warning when he received community leaders from Agip host communities, a statement on Sunday had said.

Efforts to get Agip’s side of the threat proved abortive as calls to its Public Relations Department failed to connect.
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