From Tony John, Port Harcourt
People of Obite Community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have shut down a gas plant operated by Total Exploration and Producing Nigeria Limited over alleged neglect.
The protesters drawn from the five villages of Obite community, have accused the firm of refusing to adhere to a Supreme Court judgement that mandated them to pay compensation to the community for the land they acquired for their operations.
The residents yesterday, took over the entrance into the Obite Gas plant acquired by Total E&P from Elf, vowing that they would vacate the area only when the firm begins discussions with them on how their N2.5 billion accrued bills would be cleared.
Speaking, during the protest, Mr. Daniel Uma, one of the plaintiffs in the suit that produced the Supreme Court’s decision, said that the firm (Total E and P) has operated in the area with total neglect of the owners of the land.
He said Elf acquired the area and refused to pay compensation to the community, adding that the community instituted a legal action for redress and got justice.
“We started this matter when Elf came to aquire this land, 28.8 hecters of land. When this started, we told them to pay us compensation for our land, but the Land and Claim Manager of the company said the Land Use Act does not allow multinationals to pay for land acquisition,” he said