Youths from Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Monday said they would barricade roads leading to oil installations if multinationals operating in the council failed to assist communities recently hit by flood.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown, Otuoke, is in Ogbia LGA. The youths under the aegis of Ogbia Brotherhood Youth Wing condemned the attitude of oil companies and wondered why they had not shown interest in the plight of the communities.
The National President of the group, Mr. Daziba Apiri, specifically called on the Shell Petroleum Development Company and the National Agip Oil Company to include the disaster in their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.
Apiri, in a statement, asked the SPDC, the major oil company in the area, to convene an emergency meeting to discuss modalities of assisting the victims. He called on SPDC to give immediate attention to the Ede-Pie Imiringi Bridge which was washed away by floods.
He said, “The bridge provides the only access to the host communities of SPDC in the local government area. It was constructed by the old Brass Local Government Area and it was in a bad shape before the floods.
“But the floodwater has dealt a heavy blow to the bridge breaking it into parts. SPDC should reconstruct it to reduce the plight of commuters.”
He appealed to the companies to provide food, water, clothing and funds to the flood victims in their host communities. He added, “The oil companies should also participate in evacuating affected persons to the camps established by the government.
“We warn that failure on the part of the oil giants to identify with the plight of the host communities may trigger reactions from the youth from the length and breadth of the Ogbia Kingdom. It will also lead to closure of the only access road to Ogbia host communities.”
However, our correspondent observed that a delegation of Agip had last Thursday visited the flood victims in Bayelsa State and donated three truckloads of relief to them.
The delegation led by the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Ciro Pagano, handed the items to the Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd) at the Government House, Yenagoa.
Pagano said the materials were meant to alleviate the suffering of the victims, especially displaced persons from the company’s host communities in Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa, Nembe, Ekeremor and Ogbia.
He said the company and its joint venture partners shared the pains of the victims, describing the disaster as a trying period in the state. He said, “We understand the enormous burden the situation has placed on the shoulders of the government and its resources.”