Hundreds of half-nude women in Peremabiri community in Bayelsa State, Niger Delta, yesterday, staged a protest against non-implementation of an existing agreement by Shell. The women disrupted movement of workers into the oil platforms and boat houses operated by Shell in the area, alleging non-implementation of the memorandum of understanding Shell entered into with the community.
The protesting women tied red cloth to block the entrance to the oil platform located within the community. They further alleged that Shell had failed to redeem the two-year-old promise to replace a faulty community generator, renovate existing community school and provide potable water for its host community. Some of the women carried placards with various inscriptions such as “Shell: Give us Light”, “Implement MoU or go”, “We need water, Light, School for our children” among others.
The protesters claimed that the oil firm had adopted delay tactics to avoid providing the amenities which they said were time-bound. Reacting to the development, the spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Precious Okolobo, urged the aggrieved women to adopt the spelt-out channel of addressing their grievances. “The SPDC has continued to work with the Peremabiri community on the implementation of the MoU in their area. The MoU model has provision for addressing grievances.”
On the broken down generator at Peremabiri, Okolobo said SPDC procured a new set that is being transported to the area for installation and commissioning. He said the set was twice the capacity of the bad one, and would be commissioned as soon as possible. “The Bayelsa State Government and MoU Cluster Development Board are aware of the situation and are engaging the Community Development Committee,” Okolobo said. Nigeria is one of the world’s major oil producers, but the oil- producing Niger Delta region remains one of the country’s poorest and least developed regions.