Youth from the oil rich Nembe Local Government Area (LGA) in Bayelsa State have shut down two flow stations belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). The flow stations run along Nembe Creek 1 and 2 of the LGA.
The two facilities that are estimated to produce over 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day, were invaded by the agitated youths at about 10:00 am on Friday. The facilities switched off by protesters at about 10:15am.
The protesting Nembe indigenes, armed with placards expressing their anger, many saying "the sale of our wealth by shell is theft against mankind", "we are angry, and will no longer take it", "enough of neglect and inhumanity", and “Nembe people reject sale of oil field." The youth accused SPDC of neglect and deceit of the signed Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
They alleged that despite the peaceful disposition of the Nembe people to peaceful oil exploration activities for over 50 years, the company has failed to fulfil their promise of electricity, water, and good health facilities.
The protesting youth met resistance from security operatives including armed soldiers at Nembe flow station 1. They stopped them from invading the complex, but the youths succeeded in shutting down the flow station.
The Chairman of the Nembe Oil and Gas Committee, Chief Nengi James, told the media after a meeting with officials of flow station 1, that the protest was a warning signal to the management of the SPDC to review their policy and honor existing agreements with the communities.
James said, "The protest and the shutdown of the two flow stations was due to the failure of the SPDC to respect the host communities.The sale of Nembe oil field is clandestine and criminal in nature because we had earlier sent letters to all the authorities concerned, yet we did not receive any feedback. It is based on that we were mandated by the community to shut down all oil facilities as a warning signal to see if they will come for dialogue."
“We have directed them to come for a meeting with our monarch where all interest groups in the community will be represented. We are particularly concerned about the GMoU where most of the projects like the Independent Power Plant have been abandoned. We cannot sit and watch while the future of our younger generations is been mortgaged. We are therefore calling on the incoming administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the sale of OML 29.”
The Nembe Youths President, Comrade Jonathan Omungo said, “we have shut down Nembe 1 and 2 oil fields and other facilities related to oil production as directed by the community Council of Chiefs. Our protest is on the sale of OML 29 Nembe Creek oil field. As stakeholders and landlords, we are not are supposed to be part and parcel of the selling process."
“To our greatest displeasure and dismay, we were made to understand through the media that OML 29 has been sold out, yet we are not in the picture. There are on-going activities between the community and SPDC through the GMoU, like scholarships and other projects which have been abandoned."