A section of Omudioga Community in Emohua Local Government Area, led by its Community Development Committee Chairman, Barrister Chikweri Ogbugo, have shut down Ahia Flow Station operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) due to the company’s failure to provide electricity to the people.
The protesters, who spoke through the CDC chairman, during the protest, said it was unfortunate that SPDC could live them without power supply despite their peaceful nature.
According to him, the community had been in darkness for about one year since an energy company disconnected them of the national grid.
He pointed out that the decision was reached when the company could not respond to their repeated request to provide the community with alternative means of power supply.
Ogbugo further hinted that the community may take more drastic measures should Shell fail to do the needful after the expiration of the one-week ultimatum.
“We are here today to register our grievances against SPDC. We are here to let the world know that my people have been short-changed for too long; my people have suffered for up to 50 years. SPDC has been in our community since 1961, and till now, there’s nothing to be proud of the company in the community”, he said.
“Apart from one kilometre of road since 1961, they gave us light that didn’t last for two years. Around 2002 and till about 2005, we didn’t see light again. Five years ago, we got light from Sahara Energy, a company operating in our neighbouring town, Omoku but only this year, they came and disconnected us, saying that we should go to SPDC to give us light. And for us, they are right about it because SPDC is our tenant”, he added.
The community leader also expressed regret that his people could still suffer hardship from the oil giant with the presence of over 30 oil wells, and a flow station that gathers crude oil from other neighbouring communities.
Another point of their grievance, he noted, was Shell’s failure to award N9million contract for a restore power to the community, which he said, dashed their hope.
“We can’t negotiate for other things. Shell is still giving us fake hope, my people are angry, and we have shut down the flow station. We are not leaving here until we receive positive change”, he said.
Also speaking, the representative of the chiefs, Chief Tony Assobinawu, said that the chief and elders were in support of the protest against SPDC.
Assobinawu, who corroborated the views of his CDC chairman, hinted that they have been neglected for too long, complaining that the community has no good water, and no paved internal roads.
In their separate speeches, the woman leader, Mrs Comfort Chuku and the Youth Leader, Mr Daniel Akpelu, said that the company must do something meaningful in the area to justify its presence in the area for almost 50 years.
Some of the placards they carried read, “Shell must give us light”, “We need Shell scholarship in Omudioga community”, “Youth empowerment is our priority”, among other things.
When contacted, the spokesman of Shell, Mr Michael Adande confirmed the development, but said he was yet to get details.
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