Aggrieved indigenous people of Ugboegungu, Ugborodo and Deghele in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State are laying siege to the Flow Station, alleging non-inclusion in the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act by Shell.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that their occupation of the flow station laced with chants, drums and rituals was a follow-up to an initial peaceful protest that started on Wednesday during which they gave Shell a 48-hour ultimatum with threats of total shutdown.
Industry sources told our correspondent that a shutdown of the Otumara flow station would amount to the country losing the production of 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day, a situation which would worsen the nation’s economic fortunes.
As the protest persisted on Thursday, hundreds of placard-carrying folks, both old and young, clad in red and white attire, with palm fronds tied around their heads, besieged the flow station with speedboats.
They drummed, sang and danced at the helipad and security houseboat, chanting and conjuring cosmic forces of the land to stand by them.
The protesters maintained that the communities had jointly adopted ‘Otumara Host Community Trust’ for the implementation of the PIA, saying anything short of that was unacceptable to them.
Leaders representing the three host communities making up the proposed Otumara Host Community Trust at the protest venue included Churchill Omadeli, Olufemi Edema and Anthony Menebo.
Other notable leaders comprised Chief Ayirimi Emami, the Eghare-Aja of Ugborodo Federated Communities; Eghare-Daniel Uwawah, and Mr Isaac Botosan, among others.
Although armed military soldiers guiding the flow station were also on the ground, the protesters were allowed to air their grievances.
However, no official of the SPDC was available to address the protesters or speak to journalists as of the time of filing this report.
One of the leaders in Ugborodo community, Alex Eyengho, while addressing newsmen recalled that the 30 days ultimatum that had earlier been issued to SPDC on the matter had since expired with the oil multinational remaining recalcitrant in interfacing with the aggrieved host communities as regards the PIA implementation.
Eyengho said, “If I must tell you, the facility that Shell is operating in Otumara is the largest in Delta State. If we decide to shut down this facility today, Shell and Nigeria will be losing 20,000 barrels of oil per day, but we have not taken that route and we have been very patient with Shell.
“As it concerns this Otumara community, we are saying that they should create our own host community to be named Otumara Host Community Development Trust that will be hosted by the three communities.
“We are saying that we are the host communities. If there is any form of oil spillage and environmental degradation, it is not going to affect those in Warri South Local Government and the others who are at the upland. It is going to affect Ugborodo and the other communities, primarily.
“This is in tandem with the extant laws of the PIA and we are not asking for anything. I think Shell should be happy that each of the three communities has come together to demand the PIA as a joint community and not as individuals.”