Barricade company’s gate
From Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
The youths of Bakana in Degema local government area of Rivers State yesterday blocked the main entrance of the Port Harcourt office of Eroton Exploration and Production Limited over what they described as injustice against the host community.
The youths who were dancing around the company’s premises with their native drums said the peaceful protest was necessary to address some of the issues affecting the host community, Bakana, before it get out hands.
Some of the inscriptions on placards carried by the youths include, Eroton stop fraud in DAA3, we request detail of the signed GMOU, we demand immediate financial audit of DAA3 administrative account, be more responsible to us. Give us our own quota of contract, We are not happy etc.
DAA3 Cluster board include Degema, ASALGA and AKULGA, it was being funded by shell before Shell left the place for Eroton Exploration and Production Limited.
Comrade Sobaasua , an ex-agitator who led the peaceful protest said they have written series of letter to the company to ensure that some of their grievances against the company were amicably addressed without violence or legal action against the company.
He accused the company of sidelining the host community and preferring to deal with some members of the host community who are now taking what should have gone to the people of the community.
Sobaasua who is also the Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council in the area, said , the youths in the area have all it takes to stop EROTON Company from carrying out their operation in the area but noted that as a peace loving youths they are ready for dialogue except they proves otherwise.
He said: “We are here for a peaceful protest, all we are demanding is for EROTON to give us financial autonomy, Bakana is the host community I don’t see any reason why something that is meant for the community will be channeled through somebody, We want our youths be employed
“Our problem is that the company is aware of this injustice, there are absent of basic amenities in the community, if you come to Bakana you would not believe what your eyes would see because there no sign of development. Yet there are many benefits that are being given to the community but it is not reaching the community.”
Also speaking, Mr. Gogo Abite, the Secretary Community Development Committee (CDC) said the community is no longer interested with the initial marriage but want to stay on their own as to get what belong to the community with it going through another channel.
“ We are here to protest the injustice against the people of Bakana of DAA Cluster 3 board , we don’t want the marriage anymore, we want them to deal with us directly. All we are saying is that from the fund that is allocated to the board gives Bakana its share.
“ The leadership of the cluster board is doing thing without consulting the people of Bakana, in fact Bakana as a major stakeholder in the cluster is not being carried along in any project.
“Recently there was a project amounting to N350 million but the Bakana people are not aware. As a major stakeholder, we suppose to be involved, that is our agitation, our fund should be given to us. This is a peaceful process we will continue to press on peaceful dialogue. “