by Our Correspondent
An otherwise peaceful protest by youths against an oilfield operated by Conoil in the area turned sour midway, as armed security agents shot a youth.
It was explained that the incident which occurred last Monday, May 29th, at Sangana community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, following the shooting at a boat conveying the protesting youths recently.
The victim, Mr. Ikiowori Benson, hit by the bullet lost his life instantly, while two persons amongst the protesting community youths are still missing and others critically injured after the incident.
Armed security personnel attached to the offshore facility christened, “Antie Julie”, within 0ML 59 operated by Conoil, opened fire on the youths when they approached the facility to demand the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Conoil and Sangana community.
Reacting to the incident, Mr Ambrose Timipre-Ayah, the youth leader of Sangana said 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.
According to him, “I was shocked when the armed security operatives opened fire on them, killing one person instantly, two missing and another two persons receiving treatment at Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa.”
Also, Mr Rueben Preboye, the Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Sangana, explained that while Conoil has been operating in the community for about 25 years, the company has been delaying the implementation of the MoU.
In his words; “The MoU lasts for three years subject to renewal. The 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022 MoUs have not been implemented and accumulated over 300million naira and 420-million-naira worth of projects.
“I had the same issue with Conoil when I was the youth leader of the community in 2010.”
When contacted,, the Community Relations Manager of Conoil, Richard Adebayo declined to comment on the incident.
It would be recalled that on Oct 31, 2021, a gas leak from a rig Adriatic-1 within the oilfield contaminated the environment in the community and attracted regulatory sanctions by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency