ÏAggrieved women and youths of Irri community, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State numbering about 500 over the weekend shut down the Agip oil company flow station in the community and chased away workers over non implementation of the Memorandum of Understand (MoU) reached with the community.
The protesters also barricaded the road leading to the flow station, accusing the oil company of refusal to give employment to indigenes especially youths of the community among others. According to the protesters, the oil company has refusal to implement the MoU it had with the community since 2013 which was reviewed in 2016, lamenting that the activities of the oil company has affected their farmlands and rivers negatively thereby creating hardship and poverty among the people.
Speaking on the issue, the regent of Irri community, Michael Oghogho Oviese expressed displeasure over the negligence and inhuman attitude of the oil company and called on the state and Federal Government to prevail on Agip oil company exploring oil in the community to fulfil the terms of the Memorandum of Understand (MoU) entered into by both parties to avoid any total breakdown of law and order in the area.
According to the regent, the community is ready for a dialogue and have always maintained a cordial working relationship with the Agip oil company right from time. “They have been taking oil and gas from the kingdom in the last twenty five years without any meaningful development in the land. A number of abandoned projects in the kingdom which includes roads, cottage hospital and my palace and so many other things are just lying fallow in the kingdom,” the regent lamented.
Also speaking, President General of Irri kingdom, Mr. Raphael Okelezo described the company as wicked and warned the Agip Company and its management against any plan of drafting soldiers into the kingdom, an attitude which the company was known for whenever there are misunderstanding between it and the host community. “I must warn the Agip oil company and its management to be careful and not to take laws into their hands by drafting soldiers to the community to harass the law abiding people of the kingdom who are fighting for their rights.
We the peace loving people. People of Irri kingdom say No to inhuman and wicked activities of Agip Oil Company. “Agip Oil Company should leave our land since our youths cannot be employed and empowered in different areas through skill acquisition programmes. We don’t have good roads, no water, no hospital and no palace for our traditional ruler. If Agip Oil Company cannot do all these for the peace loving people of Irri kingdom, then we are left with no option than to ask you people to leave our land for us,” Okelezo stated.