BRASS — Sangana community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has been thrown into mourning as one youth, Mr. Ikiowori Benson, has been confirmed dead, with two persons still missing and others critically injured after being shot by security agents while carrying out a peaceful protest at sea on Monday.
according to report by Mangrovepen.ng, that the military personnel attached to an offshore facility named “Antie The Matriarch Julie”, an offshore oil platform in 0ML 59 operated by Consolidated Oil and Gas Ltd. (Conoil), opened fire on the harmless youths when they approached the facility to demand the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Conoil and Sangana.
Confirming the ugly incident, the youth chairman of Sangana, Mr. Ambrose Timipre Ayah told Mangrovepen.ng that he and 10 other youths from the community approached the Conoil facility unarmed, with the sole aim of registering their displeasure with the company.
“I was shocked when they opened fire on us, killing one person instantly, two missing and another two persons receiving treatment at FMC Yenagoa. Up till now, we haven’t found the two missing bodies,” he said.
“On a yearly basis, the youth wing of the community changes its leadership. By our arrangement, we are to hold four quarterly meetings with Conoil.”
Also, the Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Sangana, Comrade Rueben Preboye told our reporter that while Conoil has been operating in the community for about 25 years, the company has been delaying the implementation of the MoU.
According to him, “This MoU lasts for three years subject to renewal. The 2013, 2016, 2019 & 2022 MoUs have not been implemented and accumulated over N300m-N420m worth of projects.
The Sangana CDC chairman said he had the same issue with Conoil when he was the youth chairman in 2010, adding that the company only called him for a meeting in his fourth month in office.
He said “this year, the youth leadership has been disturbing Conoil for a meeting. We are almost in the second quarter and even the first meeting hasn’t been held.
“Unfortunately, in the 25 years they have operated in our community, they haven’t employed anybody from Sangana, despite having many qualified persons.
“Even on the 2021 PIA implementation, Conoil doesn’t want to comply with Federal Government law to set up Host Community Development Trust as stipulated in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
“Then on the major gas leak that made the company evacuate all personnel onboard the facility which caused toxic air and water contamination that affected people in the community, Conoil refused to pay compensation and send medical personnel to treat our people till date.
“It’s a very pathetic situation we are faced with. I have not seen such an irresponsible oil company.”
An indigene of Sangana who craved anonymity asserted that the protesters led by the youth president went unarmed.
“The youths went to the rig after serving letters to the company and security operatives. They went to the offshore facility in the morning when the ocean was calm, hoping they would give them listening ears to resolve pending issues.
“We are tired of keeping a company (Conoil) that nobody is benefitting significantly from. We are not taking it again.
“It’s not about any individual. The chiefs, elders, women and youths are all in support. The youths that went there are not pirates. They went there without arms.
“We are not fighting the military. We have issues with the company. We want Conoil to leave,” the source said.
It will be recalled that on the 31st of October 2021, a gas leak from a rig (Adriatic-1) also operated by Conoil allegedly contaminated the environment in the community.
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