Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Bayelsa traditional ruler flees for safety as protest over power outage turns ugly

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Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The traditional ruler of the Twon Brass community in Bayelsa, Alfred Diette-Spiff, hosts to Agip’s Crude Export Terminal, currently protesting against a lingering power outage in the settlement has fled as the protests turned ugly.

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The newsmen on Wednesday learnt that Mr Diette-Spiff had addressed the protesters and urged them to disperse and leave the premises of Agip, as discussions with the oil firm to resolve the dispute continued in Port Harcourt.

The aggrieved community members, who had blocked access to the oil firm’s offices, shunned the appeal by the traditional ruler and became restive and hauled missiles at him, as he was immediately whisked off the scene to avert further violence.

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Youth President of Twon Brass, Edward Edison, told newsmen that the timely intervention of the youths and armed security personnel deployed to the oil firm had doused the situation, though a 24-year old was shot in the process.

He explained that Mr Diette-Spiff had to leave the community in a hurry to avert escalation of the situation as the residents vowed to remain in the premises of Agip until power was restored.

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The protests had since disrupted activities at the oil firm’s office premises located on Brass Island, near the Atlantic coastline, as community members, including women, youths and elders had, since May 14, occupied and blocked access to Agip’s operational office demanding immediate restoration of power.

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Chairman, Twon Brass Community Development Committee, CDC, Benjamin Obuala,  said the protesters would, however, continue to remain peaceful in ventilating their grievances over the power outage which had persisted for over two months.

When contacted for reaction, Media Relations Official at Eni, parent company of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC , Cioni Maririna,  declined to comment.


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