There is tension in Twon Brass Kingdom, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State as women and youths barricaded the gate of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) over a prolonged power outage on the Island.
The largest Agip oil facility in Nigeria, the Brass Terminal, which serves as the core of its operations in the country is located in Twon Brass.
Twon Brass Kingdom is made up of Ada-Ama, Cameroun Ama, Sambo-Ama, Shidi-Ama, Kemmer Town, Imbikiri as well as Brass Gate, which hosts NOAC.
For some months now, NAOC has been rationing electricity supply between Town Brass and Okpoama kingdoms, a situation that has not gone down well with the people.
According to reports, after several appeals to Agip to rectify the situation, the people had to exercise some patience, believing Agip would restore power in the affected areas.
However, power was not restored and worse still, there has been total blackout since May 7, pushing women and youths armed with placards to storm the Agip facility on Friday, disrupting the operations of the company.
Some of their placards had inscriptions such as ‘Enough is Enough with Brass Blackout,’ 'NAOC, Give Us Light,’ and ‘NAOC, Pay Community Workers’.
The protesting women and youths made it clear that the action of NAOC had paralysed business activities and subsequently affected their means of livelihood.
The protesters directed that no shop, beer parlour, market and other business venture should be opened, placing a fine on any business venture that defies the directive.
The immediate past vice chairman of Twon-Brass Council of Chiefs, Chief B.T. Williams said1 he was in support of the protest.
Williams, who incidentally is the Chairman of Light Committee in Twon, made it clear that the kingdom had written several letters to NAOC to rectify the power supply issues instead of rationing electricity.
He said it was unfortunate that the authorities of the oil company had failed to restore power supply to the kingdom which had been enjoying 24-hour power supply.
Charles Daniel, the lawmaker representing Brass Constituency 1 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, said he had to embark on a solidarity visit to the people of Twon-Brass.
The protesters who continued their protest on Saturday vowed not to leave the Agip gate until their grievances were addressed.
Efforts to get the Security Manager of the company for comments were not successful as he did not answer calls to his mobile line.
However, an official of the company who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak, said the oil company had asked the protesters to send a delegation of 20 youths to the company for the commencement of the installation of a new cable.