Women from Koroama community in Gbarain clan, Yenagoa Local Government, Bayelsa State, on Tuesday barricaded a facility belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company in a protest that lasted for over four hours.
Our correspondent learnt that the protest disrupted oil production in the facility, which forms part of the Gbarain/Ubie Project.
The demonstrators also interrupted work at the Independent Power Project in the area.
The affected platform has the capacity to produce over a million cubic feet gas and 70,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
It was learnt that the state Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Francis Ikio, failed in his attempts to prevail on the traditional ruler of the community, Chief Sabu Kalaoru, to persuade the protesters to vacate the road leading to the facilities.
The women in their hundreds were said to have been joined by youths and traditional heads from the Obunah, Okolobiri, Polaku and Okotiama clans during the protest.
The protest, our correspondent learnt, resulted from the allegations that SPDC failed to honour the agreements it reached with the community in its recent Global Memorandum of Understanding.
The protesters also accused the company of environmental and social negligence.
Travellers, including monitors from the Environmental Right Action and Friends of the Earth, were trapped as the protesters remained adamant.
The women displayed placards raeding such as ‘Give us Light or Kill us’ and ‘Honour our agreement or leave our oil’.
Woman Leader of the community, Chief Imomotimi Wariowei, said the area had not benefitted from the oil firm as it lacks water, health centre and employment opportunities.
She said, “We were told that the gas Shell is taking here is the largest natural gas reservoir in West Africa. The water we drink here is from the Taylor Creek, coloured water that has all the qualities to make people sick. Because of Shell’s construction of pipelines within the community environment we have been suffering from serious waterlog here and, our old people have been falling anyhow.”