On Thursday, Youths of Agbidiama Community in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State staged a protest and shutting down the Clough Creek flow station operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
President of Agbidiama Youth Council, Mr Torke Ekpetun, accused Shell and other oil-servicing companies of not providing employment and empowerment schemes, refusal to engage indigenous firms for catering services and neglect of the community and its leadership, abandoning their developmental obligations to the community.
Ekpetun claimed that an allied firm, Clinthwealth Nigeria Limited, which was contracted by the SPDC to provide services at its oilfield in the area, had neglected the community youths since 2018, among other grievances.
He said, “We frown at the current situation whereby host communities will bear the adverse impacts of operations of these oil companies with little or no benefit.
“We are yearning for dialogue to resolve all issues. They (SPDC and others) have refused to recognise a duly constituted youth leadership in employment matters.”
In reaction to the protest, the Media Relations Manager, SPDC, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, said the oil company valued a cordial relationship with its host communities and would not do anything to undermine it.
Odugbesan said, “It is a long-standing policy of SPDC to provide opportunities for its host communities, including but not limited to community contracts, scholarships at different levels, economic empowerment programmes such as LiveWIRE, healthcare support like the Oloibiri health programme and COVID-19 equipment donations to Bayelsa and other states.
“We also have GMoU community development programme that funds community projects decided by the communities.
“As we strive for a stronger relationship with our host communities, we are open to discussions on any complaints for an amicable resolution.” He added.