Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Despite partial power restored, Brass residents continue siege to Agip

Community leaders and some government officials were expected at the Agip’s terminal gate to meet with the protesters and brief them on progress made in the negotiations.

• May 24, 2021
Agip and Brass
A composite of Brass protesters and Agip logo used to illustrate the story

Economic activities at Twon Brass, hosts of Agip’s Oil Export Terminal in Bayelsa, have remained grounded as residents continued to occupy the premises of the oil firm even though power was partially restored to the community.

Residents had on May 14 disrupted activities at the oil firm by blocking access to the facility in protest of an alleged two-month power outage and failure of the management of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to honour its social obligations to the community.

The management of Eni, the Italian parent company of NAOC, had in a statement on May 21 announced that it had restored power supply to the area following repair work on a power cable damaged by thunderstorms.

On Monday, Taribalalate George, a resident of Twon Brass, said, “As we speak, there is no power in Twon Brass. But they brought the light on Thursday (May 20). But it has been going off and on, and we are suspicious that it is a ploy to disperse the people while the power issue persists.”

Mr George added, “The protest is still on because we have so many issues bordering on Agip’s neglect of their social obligations as spelt out in our Memorandum of Understanding. It was the power outage that sparked off the protests, and we insist that all other issues are resolved as well.”

He explained that the community leaders and some government officials were expected at the Agip’s terminal gate to meet with the protesters and brief them on progress made in the negotiations. 

The protests became rowdy on May 19 when the traditional ruler, Alfred Diette-Spiff, appealed to the protesters to leave Agip’s premises. But the angry mob attacked him, and he had to be whisked away. A 24-year-old was shot in the commotion.

In its reaction to requests for comments, Eni claimed that power was restored and that the protests did not adversely impact oil exports from the Brass terminal.

“An electrical cable connecting the terminal to the community was damaged by lightning, thereby leaving the community without electricity. This led to peaceful protests at the Brass terminal gate. The repair job has been done on an urgent basis, and power to the community has been fully restored today (Friday).

“Production has not been impacted, and we expect the normalization of operations in the next few days,” Eni stated. 

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