Abandoned NDDC shore protection project causes tension in Bayelsa community

By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa – Tension is brewing in the riverside oil rich community of Olugbobiri in the Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State over the continued abandonment of a NDDC shore protection projects as the natives yesterday warned that the development could ignite another round of crisis in the area.

Olugbobiri which is host to a number of oil companies especially the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) which operates a flow station in the community was a former host to two renowned militants’ camps operated by ex militant leaders, Africanus Akparaisa popularly known as Gen Africa and Great Joshua Maciver at the height of youth militancy in the Niger Delta.

The shore protection project, the source of the renewed tension in the community, Vanguard learnt was awarded to Dredging Atlantic in 2009 at the cost of N4.8bn by the NNDC with the firm allegedly paid 15 per cent mobilization to enable it mobilise to site.

The natives in a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan noted with sadness that the company had refused to mobilise to site since 2009 in spite of repeated entreaties to the NDDC to compel it to move to site and commence work so as to save their community from extinction being brought about by the gradual losing of their land to erosion.

In their petition jointly signed by their Acting paramount ruler, HRH Seiminiyefa Saint, Secretary General, Olugbobiri community, Mike Kokorifa and Chief Cox Kaka, President Youth Council among others, they called on President Jonathan to order the immediate revocation of the contract and re-award same to a contractor who willing to commence work immediately and save their community from being washed away by erosion.

While drawing the attention of the authorities to the brewing tension in the area which they blamed on what they described as the non-challant attitude of NDDC and its contractor to the plight of the community the petitioners said, “before the recent peace in the Niger Delta, you will recall that our community was one of the most volatile in the region, being the home and camp base of two ex-militant leaders, Africanus Akparaisa also known General Africa and Great Joshua Maciver.”

Though the petitioners noted that they loathe violence especially with the return of peace to the once troubled area, “we do not pray for a return to militancy but our youths are getting restless and the situation is fast becoming too hot to handle.”

“We do not want a situation whereby we, the elders, are accused of failing the people and the youths take over. This is an invitation to anarchy. That is why we are calling on you (Mr. President) to please compel the NDDC to re-award the contract to another contractor who will commence work immediately,” they said urged President Jonathan to wade into the matter with a view to preventing it from degenerating into another round of crisis.