Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has waded into the crisis between Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Oleh community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Frosty relations between the company and the community took a twist when the community’s women held a three-day peaceful protest over the company’s refusal to pay compensation for cracked buildings, signing of an MoU with the community and setting up of a flow station in the area.
The protest attracted the attention of the Deputy Senate President, who directed his Senior Special Assistant on Community Relations, Conflict Resolution and Local Content Matters, Prince Christopher Agaga to look into the issues raised by the community.
At a peace meeting held on Wednesday at Agip’s Main Yard in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Omo-Agege decried the non-challant attitude of the oil company towards the demands of the host community for a better deal and frowned at the use of the army to intimidate the host community over demands for their rights.
Omo-Agege, however, commended the Agip and Oleh community for agreeing to resolve the crisis which he noted was in the best interest of all stakeholders.
“Our office got to know of the community’s protest from the media and was directed to deal with the situation immediately.
“While I commend the community for organising a peaceful protest to drive home their demands, it is rather unfortunate that the company tried to shy away from their responsibilities by engaging the army to coerce them into abandoning their demands.
“As a responsible representative of the people, we find it very disturbing that issues of this kind are happening and the company is shying away from taking responsibility.
“Let me urge Agip and the community to ensure they tow the path of peaceful resolution of the crisis because it is in the best interest of the company, the community, and the government to ensure harmonious relations to enable uninterrupted oil production.
“In the coming days we shall be meeting further to find a permanent solution to the recurring disagreement, ” he said.
NAOC Stakeholders Management and Community Development Division Manager, Mr. Dennis Masi, represented by Matwen Jitor, Assistant Manager Community Relations, reiterated the Company’s commitment in empowering and providing access to social infrastructure in its areas of operation, noting that this has always been the cardinal community relations policy of the company.