THE chiefs, elders, women, youths and people of Opu Nembe Kingdom of Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Saturday protested against an oil major, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited, over its alleged economic rape and environmental liabilities.
They, therefore, gave a quit notice to the oil company with effect from November 14, 2020, to leave the Oil Mining Licence (OML 29), saying that Aiteo was no longer welcome in their communities afterwards.
During the peaceful protest, which took place yesterday, the chiefs of the kingdom were all dressed in black attires, a development that indicated that they were mourning the “death” of the oil major in the kingdom.
Addressing journalists at Opu Nembe comprising Nembe-Bassambiri Kingdom, the Chairman, Council of Chiefs, Chief Oriaingo Oruwari, said they were protesting against national economic sabotage, strangulation of host communities, ecological destruction, contract racketeering and corporate wickedness.
Oruwari expressed the kingdom’s resolute rejection the oil firm imposed upon them as the joint venture operator of Nigeria’s most historic and highest onshore producing OML 29 despite their strong objection from the start.
He said since five years since Shell Petroleum Development Company allegedly surreptitiously sold OML 29 to Aiteo without any consideration of host communities’ pending legal and equitable rights, it had been anguish on all sides for the communities.
Oruwari stated: “The chiefs, elders, women, youths and all people of Opu Member are tired ofnghe Aiteo punishment. Simply put, Aiteo and whoever its officials and private collaborators may be is practically killing its host communities, particularly Opu Nembe.
“It has become so unbearable through these years, and worst in recent months, that community women and youths were provoked to peacefully occupy the Santa Barbara flow station and the Oceans field flow station in protest from Wednesday, November 11.
“We are aware that kinsmen and women from our sister host kingdom have also peacefully occupied Aiteo installations for some days now, in similar protest.”