12 Bayelsa communities team up against SPDC security contractor over alleged harassment

Bayelsa Palm Estate. Photo: Sam Oyadongha.

•We may be forced to take the laws into our hands —Deboh, CDC chair, HRH Ibe
•Ocean Marine not terrorizing villagers —Mr. Abel Ogobene

 

 

TWELVE Bayelsa riverine communities spread across Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas, under the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC EA Field, have threatened a showdown over purported harassment and intimidation of local fishermen by a security firm working for a multinational company operating in the area.

 

The communities said that local fishermen were being restricted from carrying out their fishing occupation in the rivers, where the security firm, Ocean Marine Solutions, is located, a situation they pointed out, was affecting the people’s means of livelihood, as they depend on fishing for survival.

Communities ask govt to call Ocean Marine Solutions to order

Chairman of Shell EA host Communities Development Committee, CDC, Chairmen Forum, Mr. Ebimobowei Deboh and paramount ruler of Besigbene community, HRH, Chief Jonathan Ibe, in a statement, urged the Bayelsa State Government to call the company to order to avoid confrontation between it and the communities.

“We are calling on the Bayelsa State Government to prevail on Ocean Marine Solutions, the security firm operating under Shell EA Field, to stop harassing and intimidating our local fishermen from carrying out their occupation.

“As Ijaws and riverine people, our main occupation and means of livelihood are predominantly fishing and farming and any attempt to deny us access to our rivers is to sentence our people to starvation and death and we will resist such.

“As a peace-loving people, we have endured this intimidation and harassment for long and if it persists, we may be forced to take the laws into our hands.”

 Company denies allegation

Reacting, a management staff of the firm, Mr. Abel Ogobene, described the allegation of intimidation by the company as untrue, saying the people employed by the company were indigenes of the communities.

He said: “From what I know, the allegation is not true and I cannot speak further on that. The people doing the job are from the communities; they are working for us and so cannot be harassing themselves.”

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