……as Egene insists negotiations must continue as quickly as possible
By Kelvin Ohoror/Owho Warri
The seven (7) days peaceful protests by the Idheze community in Isoko south local government area of Delta State over neglect, non-signing of MoU and non-implementation of some of the agreement reached over the years by Aziena Generale Itiana petroli, (AGIP), the firm drilling oil from the community on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria has yielded some progress as AGIP opens up for negotiations with the community inspite of the temporary closure of office due to the COVID 19 pandemic ravaging the world over.
However the president-General of the Idheze community, Mr Goddy Egene who spoke to Isoko mirror through phone conversation, confirmed that the monthly stipend payment to the community has reached June after the protests, while stressing that the only issue still hanging is the MoU negotiations of the last nine years and some other related issues since AGIP commenced oil drilling in the community which has not been signed but, put on hold due to COVID 19 pandemic with the assurance that negotiations will commence as soon as business activities resumed fully, but warned that the oil flowstation would be shut down if AGIP renege on their part.
Recall that before AGIP opens up for negotiations, after the community had accused the oil company of impoverished the Idheze people through marginalization and destruction of their farmlands.
Egene had noted that, despite large quantity of oil been taken away by the company, there is no AGIP project sighted in the community as no Idheze son or daughter is engaged as a staff of the company in the area.
The youth leader, Mr Agoma Emmanuel, while corroborating the statement of the president general, he reiterated that, no indigene of the community is employed as a staff of the company and insisted that such action by the company will be resisted henceforth.
During the seven days protests, the road was cleared for the army and other security agents as the company Representatives were not available for dialogue.
Egene had noted, before AGIP opens up for negotiations, he has met with the company management at their headquarters in Port Harcourt in March 2019 when his community was invited to discuss the MoU, but, still nothing tangible has come out, and pointed out that meeting with no positive result, from there, they came to conclusion and resolved that AGIP has been deceiving the community for the past nine years of drilling oil.