The people of Peretorugbene Community, Ekeremor Council Area of Bayelsa state, have cried out over alleged neglect by the Federal Government of Nigeria and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
They protested that 47 years after oil exploration in their land, they were yet to benefit from their own natural gift. The people claimed the Shell had operated in their community for decades with nothing to show as benefit.
Men, women and children carried bearing inscriptions such as “Give us Skills Acquisition Centres in Peretorugbene”; “We need portable drinking water and gas turbine for electricity”; “Buhari give us 100 housing units”; “Give us an access road from Peretorugbene to Ojobo” among others.
In a chat with newsmen, a leader of the Community, Comrade Bossman Amoda said though the community appreciates President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval of the pipeline surveillance job for the youths and men of the community, the approval should not be used to substitute the needed development for the community.
“In the history of Peretorugbene community, this is the first time such a unique and satisfactory job is coming to our people from the federal government. It is a welcome development because it will curtail youth restiveness in our community. But it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for physical development.”
“Peretorugbene community has been a host community to Shell Petroleum Development Company for over 47 years with the biggest oil manifold in West Africa, which is the Brass Creek Manifold. But you will be surprised to hear that there’s no government presence in our community, despite our large contribution towards the national economy.
“Up till this present moment, our only source of drinking and cooking water is the river, which has resulted to different kinds of illnesses in our community. We are calling on the federal government and Shell for urgent attention. We need all the aid we can get now”.