Environmentalist accuses oil firms of involvement in Niger Delta crisis

Oct 18, 2007 02:00 AM

An activist and President, Board of Trustees of the Centre for Environmental Preservation and Development (CEPAD), Mr Furaebi Akene accused the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region of promoting youth restiveness and kidnapping in the region.
Akene, who was reacting to the threat by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly to sanction some multinational companies operating in the state over their alleged disobedience to summon before the legislators, said as party to the crises the oil companies should be sanctioned.

Yenagoa said, "Yes, this is one good thing the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has done. I commend them for their action. The refusal of the companies suggests that the multinational oil companies up till today are not ready to meet with the Niger Delta people. I have repeated it several times that they are the cause of the crises in the Niger Delta."
He also alleged that sometimes, these companies even sponsor the youths to ferment trouble in the regionsaying that "community chiefs would invite them, they would not go. We will write them letters, they will not reply."

Akene also accused oil companies of using expired pipes in constructing pipelines and when there is instrument failure, they would allege sabotage just to avoid payment of compensation.
As one who had worked with an oil company for about 10 years, said he has a lot of evidence where oil companies will ask communities to bring names into their pay roll just because they don't want to employ youths of the region and that brought to the limelight that people can earn a salary without working. Oil company executives, he said, arrange with youths sometimes to shut flow stations in order to make money as according to him "because if they go and talk to those boys and give them N 50,000.00 they would claim they paid N 5 mm, the rest of the money is in their pockets."

He urged the state house of assembly to arrest or prosecute any person sent by any multinational company to represent it thatclaim not to have mandate to speak on behalf of the company for impersonation. It would be recalled that the Bayelsa state house of assembly threatened to sanction the following companies: Daewoo, Saipem, Setraco, Chevron, Texaco, oil and construction giant Julius Berger, that sent junior staff to represent them, an action the assembly described as a mockery.
Worried by the negative effects of militancy in the region, the various militant groups in the Niger Delta have resolved to stay in action on hostage taking, especially on expatriate oil workers.

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