Residents of Tuomo federated community in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, yesterday, occupied the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC’s field station in the riverine settlement in a protest led by their traditional ruler, Chief Gimba Tamani, over the firm’s alleged refusal to carry out a flow station project in the area.

The protesters, who stormed the company’s station in the early hours of yesterday, congested the premises after locking up Agip’s well-head and gate. They were carrying different placards which read: “Agip, Tuomo people say no to cheating,” “No flow station, no Agip in Tuomo,” “No light, no Agip” and “Enough is enough, leave our land, Agip.”

Chief Tamani said it was a peaceful protest against Agip for neglecting the land over the past years, and added that the company has long been taking them for granted.

“We have come to stay at Agip station here and we will not leave except Agip comes down personally to Tuomo for negotiation. We were told that this is gas field, but now we have discovered that it is oil field and no single benefit has accrued to this community.

“We want Agip to commence the long-awaited flow station project, we want jobs for our youths, we want internal roads, potable water and a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) which Agip has failed to fulfil,” he said.

Alleging Agip of deceiving the community for the past 40 years, Chairman of Tuomo Community, Hon. Timi Andaye and Youth President, Comrade Gabriel Bekesuoyeibo, who also participated in the protest, said Agip abandoned the flow station project supposedly for the community, while piping oil to Ogboinbiri flow station in Bayelsa state.

Meanwhile, the women among the protesters, led by chair-lady of the community, Mrs. Maria Nisama noted that their cooking utensils were with them at the spot and were ready to cook for their husbands and children until Agip responded.

Also mobilizing youths for the protest, the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Tuomo clan, headed by Osuwo Port Harcourt, said Agip’s action is an oppression in the highest order.

Speaking on behalf of elders in the community who vowed not to evacuate the site until Agip addresses them, Chief Akpola Ekperi said they were not ready to go to either Port Harcourt or any other place for negotiation, saying “Agip must come to us here.”