A number of youths reportedly shut down the OB-OB Gas Plant belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Omoku, the headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State on Wednesday August 3rd.
They reportedly said they decided to shut down the facility when NAOC refused to meet and interface with them on issues affecting them, including employment and the need to implement the content of an existing Memorandum of Understanding.
The youth, who chanted war songs while they formed a blockade around the main entrance to the facility, vowed that the gas plant would remain shut down until NOAC began to do the right thing by listening to them.
Mr. Emeka Ababiri, the Vice President of Omoku Youth Association, reportedly said that his members began to picket the point where the facility was located in Omoku at about 6am.
He explained that the youth association had reportedly written series of letters to the management of NAOC on the need to have a meeting where they could discuss the way forward, adding that the oil company failed to honour any of the invitations.
“Agip is situated in Ogbaland, including Omoku, but the company has refused to associate with us, the Omoku Youth Association. We have written series of letters to them for us to interface and look for the way forward.
Some of the company’s responsibilities under the Memorandum of Understanding, like road rehabilitation and youth employment, have been abandoned and we believe it is time for us to take a bold step and force the company to listen to us.” He said in anger.
Making a point that the lingering youth unemployment was responsible for the high rate of crime in the area, adding that no youth would have time to engage in militancy or other forms of crime if he was gainfully employed.
If the youth work from 6am to 6pm, they would not have time for crime because at the end of the month, it would be to earn a living. That is why we have been writing NAOC to meet with us so that we will discuss the issues and find a way out”. He said.
But unfortunately, they (NAOC) have refused to honour our invitation. He contitued. That is why we have shut down their facility. The gas plant will remain like this until the company decides to interface with us,” the Omoku Youth Association’s vice president added.
He further explained that though the management of the company had shown its readiness to begin negotiation with youths of Omoku, the meeting would no longer commence on Wednesday August 3rd.
“We have decided that we would meet with them tomorrow because holding the meeting today is no longer possible. They are now ready to talk to us, but negotiation proper will start Thursday August 4th..