Normalcy returns to Agip’s Brass Terminal host community as protesters disperse
By Nathan Nwakamma
Normalcy has returned to Twon Brass, host to Agip’s Oil Export Terminal in Bayelsa, following suspension of protests over extended power outage in the community.
The protests had grounded economic activities as residents occupied the premises of Agip for more than a week.
Mr Eugene Spiff, a resident of Twon Brass, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday, that the community suspended the protests following the intervention of the Bayelsa government on Monday.
Spiff explained that the people decided to end the protest to show good faith, and that they were fair in their demands, even though the power supply was yet to be fully restored to the area.
“The decision of the community was based on the intervention of the state government, the grievances of the people are yet to be addressed.
“The things being demanded were potable water for Brass Island, employment for the youths, amongst others.
“We remained peaceful whilst the protests lasted, as a show of our civilised nature, and if Agip had met its social obligations, the protests would not have been necessary.
“We were pushed to the wall and we hope that the state government prevails on Agip to do the needful,” Spiff said.
Residents had on May 14 blocked the oil firm’s facility, disrupted its activities, to protest alleged two months power outage and neglect of an MoU-backed social obligations by the management of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The management of Eni, the Italian parent company of NAOC, through a statement on May 21, announced the restoration of power supply to the area following repair works to a power cable damaged by thunderstorms.
The announcement followed increased intensity of the protests which turned rowdy on May 19, when the traditional ruler, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, appealed to the protesters to disperse, while their grievances were being discussed with NAOC.
However, the angry mob attacked the King, who had to be whisked away to safely, while a 24 year old man was shot in the melee.
Eni, in a reaction to a request for comments on the protests by NAN, claimed that power had been restored, adding that the protests did not adversely impact on oil exports from the Brass Terminal.
“An electrical cable connecting the terminal to the community was damaged by a lightning bolt, 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 May 21).
“Production has not been impacted and we expect the normalization of operations in the next few days,” Eni stated, in the statement.