There is a rising tension in Koluama community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Council of Bayelsa State following the invasion and shutting down of drilling facilities operated by ConOil Producing Limited by angry youths over allege non-implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding with host communities.
It was gathered that the breached oil facility known as Ango 2 field, operated by Conoil since 2013, has a crude oil production capacity of over 30,000 barrels per day.
Aggrieved indigenes, including women, youths and elders invaded the facility displaying placards with inscriptions such as “No MoU, No Crude oil exploration”, ConOil pack, and go, we are tired of suffering” and “Koluama people are suffering.”
They demanded the shutdown of operations at the facility.
The decision of the aggrieved indigenes of the community were also backed by the members of the Koluama Oil and Gas Committee, who insisted that the oil multinational had failed in the implementation of the MoU it entered with the community, which spelt out social obligations of the oil firm to its host communities.
The Chairman Koluama Clan Oil and Gas Committee, Chief Jonathan Amabebe, said some of the community’s demands include clean-up of oil spill sites in the various communities and carrying out of medical outreach to communities affected by oil spill.
According to Amabebe, others are the issuance of employment letter to one of the community’s qualified indigenes, who was successful in Conoil’s last employment exercise in 2015 and award of contract across the five host communities, in Koluama Clan, namely, Tamazo, Koluama 1, Koluama 2, Olobia and Kalaweiama, embedded in the MoU, amongst others.
Also speaking on the development, an aide to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Oil and Gas, Prince Tare Ekubo, said despite several warnings from the community, intervention by government, meetings and letters sent to Conoil to ensure that the relationship by both parties did not degenerate, the oil company had refused to implement decisions reached.
He, however, said the Bayelsa State Government would engage both parties to resolve the lingering issues.
The spokesman for Conoil, Mr Abiodun Azeez, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report as he did not pick up our correspondent’s calls.