Ijaw Youths Threaten To Shut Down Agip

Following its alleged refusal to honor a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), two oil-producing towns in Bayelsa state have threatened to shut down the operations of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC). According to reports, the warning was given over the weekend when leaders of Ogboinbiri and Azuzuama- the affected areas- led by Tari Okoso and Walter Job-Molo, staged a march to the president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide Eric Omare. 

The aggrieved youth leaders informed Omare that the oil company had refused to implement the memorandum and had taken to deploying military personnel to the area whenever indigenes demanded for their rights. 

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They stated: “We have been pushed to the wall and we have issued an ultimatum to shut down Agip operations in the communities by asking Agip workers to leave.” The youth leaders also complained that the company had refused to pay compensation to the communities after repeated oil spillages. They recalled that 67 persons had died in 2007, as a result of “the mismanagement of a MoU by Agip in Ogboinbiri community”. 

According to the youth leaders, a fire incident at Azuzuama community “from the negligence of Agip in 2015 led to the death of several persons including late Linus Epunumokumor in respect of which Agip has refused to pay compensation to the family up till date.” 

In response, Omare urged Agip to observe international best practices in the oil and gas industry and honor the MoU it entered into with the host communities. Omare also appealed to the federal government and the Bayelsa state governor to compel Agip to respect the MoU in order “to avoid a violent shut down of operations with grave security and economic implications.”