A mammoth crowd of protesters, bearing placards of varying inscriptions, last week stormed the Bayelsa State Government House, Yenagoa, to register their discontent over perceived neglect by oil companies operating in the state.
The protesters, operating under the auspices of Bayelsa Oil Communities, jointly expressed dissatisfaction over what it considered as palpable neglect by the oil and gas companies operating in the state.
Spokesman of the group, Mr Nengi James, decried the abandonment of development projects in the oil producing communities despite the fact that the communities have conceded their natural resources to the oil companies.
He noted that the various communities still suffered untold neglect as there was no basic infrastructure in the communities to justify a good sense of corporate social responsibility on the part of the oil and gas firms.
James called on the oil companies, especially SPDC and Agip, to provide employment opportunities for indigenes of host communities, and also provide the needed infrastructures, such as good roads, water and electricity supply to make life more meaningful to the people.
Responding to the request of the protesters, Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva, commended the people for their peaceful approach towards registering their grievances against the companies.
Sylva assured that their request would be given due consideration and proactive action, and added that the Bayelsa State Government was committed to the development of the people.
He promised to ensure that a better community relations atmosphere existed between the oil and gas companies and their host communities, saying that as soon as this is achieved, it would fast track the development of the state.