A community in Bayelsa State’s Yenagoa Local Government Area (LGA) has in protest shut down a Shell gas field to demand electric power from the facility, according to The Punch. Dozens of residents of Koroama blocked the main access road to Shell Petroleum Development Company’s Gbarain-Ubie Integrated Gas Plant starting three weeks ago, forcing contractors to leave and dragging production to a halt.
“Today, my people and I are protesting to SPDC and to the Federal Government,” local leader Sabu Martins said. “Koroama is a host community and has the largest proven gas and oil reserve in the entire Shell operations in this area.”
Shell Spokesman Joseph Obari confirmed the closure was due to the protest and said that the Bayelsa State government was mediating talks between the community and the company. He mentioned that two neighboring communities are supplied with back-up power under a 2006 agreement, but due to the limitations of the existing infrastructure, the plant has been unable to expand to supplying other areas.
Ankio Briggs, a community rights activist, told The Punch that Koroama residents weren’t asking for much. “This story is about host communities who I call the owners of the resources, it is about self determination, it is about corporate social responsibility, the demand is just and right,” she said.