By Kalu Onyemaechi
IJAW youths in Olugbobiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State under the auspices of Concern Olugbobiri Youths Movement, have vowed to shutdown the Tedidaba Flow Station operated by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, over alleged marginalisation and neglect of the community by the multinational, according to a report by Vanguard.
The youths, who staged a peaceful protest in the community, yesterday, said 48 years after the commencement of crude oil exploitation in their domain, the fortunes of the community have not changed.
They lamented that the community lacks basic social amenities such as potable drinking water, functional jetty, empowerment and job opportunities for youths, adding that what the community has benefitted is abandoned projects.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, the community youth leader, Raphael Christopher, flanked by the Woman Leader, Timieri Abe, said the youths were giving the multinational till December 31, 2021, to meet the demands of the community or face shutdown of the Tedidaba flow station.
According to them, their demands include installation of gas turbine light, annual youth scholarships programme, urgent completion of 2.8 kilometres road abandoned since 1991, and completion of water project abandoned since 1999.
The youths protested with placards, some of which read: “Agip owes us social responsibility”, “We are agitating for youths employment/scholarships”, “Say no to nepotism”, “We need portable water/amenities,”, “Complete all abandoned projects” among others.
They said: “There is a general feeling among our people particularly our youths and the upcoming generation that the youths are deliberately sidelined by the multinational. No Olugbobiri youth has been deemed suitable for scholarship overseas or employed as management staff since 1971 when they began to exploit crude oil in our community.”
“48 years after, we do not have basic communal infrastructure projects that can enhance the living conditions of our people, all we can boast of is abandoned projects that are defacing the beauty of our community.
“In culmination, the youths of Olugbobiri demands must be fulfilled on or before end of December 2021, by NAOC and failure shall attract pipelines destruction and total shutdown of the Tedidaba Flow Station.”