The oil-rich Idu-Ekpeye community in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State has shut down the Ubie field flow station belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over what it described as “criminal neglect” by Shell of the host community.
Similarly, the community vowed to stop Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) from operating its pipeline which criss-cross the area, as the two oil-giants, according to the community, were yet to impact positively on the lives of the indigenes of the area.
The community’s spokesman, Comrade Robinson Onyenankeya Umeh said that the community could no longer bear the non-chalant and recalcitrant disposition of Shell and Agip towards the well-being of their people and have therefore resolved to take the “bull by the horns”.
According to him, Shell and Agip have done nothing in terms of infrastructural and human capital development of the community and all overtures to them to reverse their age-long neglect, intimidation and harassment had yielded positive results.
Comrade Umeh furthere disclosed that the two oil giants have taken the community for a ride for too long, perhaps due to the community’s peaceful disposition, noting that the youths have vowed to stop the companies after over 45 years of operation in the area.
The community, he said, had explored all diplomatic avenues to dialogue with Shell and Agip but to no avail and wondered why both firms should adopt selective policies for different host communities.
He disclosed that the community resolved to shut down the oil facilities as a last resort, as records show that Shell was doing so much for other oil-bearing communities.
Idu-Ekpeye, he further revealed plays host to five oil wells, a flow station, a gas flaring unit and pipeline running from Ogoda through Idu to Akalaolu, but nothing to show for the natural endowment on the community.
Comrade Umeh also recalled the 1982 episode when the community legitimately demanded for a fair deal but was visited with force leaving one Samuel Amah dead and several others severely injured.
When contacted, Shell’s spokesman, Precious Okolobo said he was yet to be briefed on the situation and promised to get back to The Tide when he gets the details of the development.