By Samuel Oyadongha and Emem Idio, Nembe Bassambiri
The people of Nembe Bassambiri, in the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and the host communities of Oil Mining Lease, OML, 29, operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, have asked the company to renounce its domain.
This is how the host communities have also appealed to the Federal Government not to renew Aiteo’s operating license that, they said, expired on June 30, 2020, but should take over the OML 29 operation, pending that a “new and community-friendly operator takes over.”
Young people besiege the facilities
Though peaceful in their conduct, hundreds of angry youths from host communities armed with placards bearing various inscriptions had besieged the company’s facilities last Wednesday in protest at the alleged abandonment of their communities.
The chairman of the Nembe Bassambiri Chiefs Council, Chief Oriaingo Oruwari, accompanied by other chiefs and community leaders over the weekend at a press conference, accused the company of “circumventing the Local Content Law” and “denying the host communities more than 90% of community contracts “reserved by law for them”.
Interestingly, all the chiefs and elders of the community wore the traditional black dress, which according to their custom, symbolizes “death and mourning” in the oil-rich enclave.
According to Chief Oriaingo, other community complaints against the company include employing a negligible number of people from the community in casual jobs, massive and prolonged oil spills, and refusing to clean up and pay compensation, and refusing to negotiate a memorandum. of fair understanding with the community for five years.
He said: “The bosses, the old men, the women, the young and all the people of Opu Nembe are tired. It has become so unbearable over the years and worse in recent months that women and youth from the community were provoked to peacefully occupy the Santa Barbara flow station and the Odeama field flow station in protest since Wednesday 11 of November. We are aware that relatives and women of our sister kingdom have also peacefully occupied Aiteo’s premises in their domain for a few days, in a similar protest.
“As community leaders, we apply civilized methods to seek redress, including lawsuits, petitions to the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, NNPC and the Development and Monitoring of Content from Nigeria Board, NCDMB and informal channels too.
“Frustrated and exasperated, community leaders in solidarity with our Protestant people have to address this press conference, to issue this notice of resignation to Aiteo and his contractors, so that they stop trespassing on our territory and leave punctually.
Accordingly, we declare the following: That the Federally owned Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, should take over the operation of OML 29, pending a new competent and community-friendly operator taking over.
Heads in black
Also speaking, Chief Amakiri Boumonye said: “Today is a very big day for the people of Opu Nembe, as they can see all of us dressed in black showing that something serious has happened, and what happened is announcing death to them. and burial of Atheus in the land of Opu Nembe. Every time you see the Nembe people dressed in black, we have lost someone. We are tired and we are no longer in this marriage.
However, Aiteo through one of its spokespersons who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the company said that the firm is working on a response to the problems raised by the community.