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Finima protest stops construction work at NLNG Train 7

Written by silvernewsng

By Wisdom Chukwu-Ohaegbule

The people of Finima community in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State have shut down the operations of Saipem, Chiyoda, and Daewoo (SCD) JV, the companies handling the construction of the multi-billion dollars NLNG Train 7.

Among other things, the people, who are the host community to NLNG Trains 1-7, want the SCD JV to fully implement the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010, Community Content Guideline 2017, respect the leadership of Finima, and finally to display approved vendors list for the community.

The protest, which started as early as 5am, led to the barricade of the entrance to the construction site, while several workers were left stranded as staff buses could not pick them up.

Speaking to newsmen on the reason for their action, the chairman of Finima Youth Congress (FYC), Shedrack Brown, stated that the community decided to protest after repeated efforts to make the SCD JV see reason with them on their demands through peaceful approach.

He disclosed that they had written several letters to the management of the Joint Venture to iron out contentious issues but all have been met with nonchalance and lack of regard for the host community.

According to him, “The entirety of Finima community has come out to protest against neglect by the SCD JV, who for over time have decided not to have any dealings with Finima. You will recall that in 2021, there was the groundbreaking for the construction of NLNG Train 7 project and NLNG in their wisdom brought the entirety of the team handling this project to Finima community for identification.

“But ever since that was done till date, they have refused to have any dealings, any engagement with the Finima community. We have written several letters through the Finima Capacity Development Committee, the Finima Youth Congress, among others, to see that they have engagement with the community.

“It is unfair. It is unjust that such construction will be going on in the community and they will not want to have any engagement with us.

“We had even petitioned the Commissioner of Police, who invited all parties and they still refused to honour the invitation. Most shockingly, the day we were to discuss the issues at stake, they tacitly evaded the meeting and then gave flimsy excuses why they couldn’t come. So, we have no choice than to resort to self-help in form of protest at ensuring they listened to us.

“And what have been our requests? Simply,  implement the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Development Act of 2010, ensure that you comply with the Community Content Guidelines of 2017. These are extant laws of the federation that we are saying comply with. We are not bringing things from the blues, we are not bringing things that are unimaginable. We are bringing things that are common for everybody to practise.”

On their part, the Secretary, Finima community women, Mrs. Linda Brown, and the General Secretary, Finima Youth Congress, Comrade Strong Ezekiel, respectively, expressed displeasure at the marginalization of the community in the project.

“We are not happy because of the situation on ground. Since the Train 7 Project started, all what they promised the community, precisely the women, we have not got any. Right now the project is almost done and that is why we decided to take this action so that we all will benefit from it because presently there is nothing for us.

“The neglect has marred us. We have no say whatsoever. It is painful, it is our land, it’s our community, it’s what we have, God gave it to us so we should benefit from it primarily but we are short-changed. Our youths are not happy because in terms of employment they are nowhere. They dropped our youths to bring in strangers from afar. We are not happy at all and until a sacrosanct answer is given in this demonstration, we won’t rest,” they stated.

No official of the SCD JV was on ground to respond to inquiries from journalists to get reactions to issues posed by the community.

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