Liquefied gas facility near PH shut by community action over safety threats


* Facility threatened by community alleging neglect, danger to lives

By Gladys nweke

Poor community relations policy may have caused shutdown of a huge gas company in a part of Rivers State. Community members in a liquefied gas facility in Rumuji town near Port Harcourt have shut down the facility. The community alleges threat to lives and unsure provision for safety.

The facility is thus facing prolonged shutdown following community action in Emohua local council area. The crisis may linger to weeks if Greenwille Liquefied Natural Gas company does step in fast.

The chiefs, elders, men and youths of the community, who stormed the premises of Greenville in heavy protest around 7am on Monday stopping every activity in the company, stated that they would shut down the company for 14 days unless their needs were addressed.

The Community Development Committee Chairman of Rumuji, Godswill Osimini, said they need a clearly written Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Environmental Impact Assessment report of the firm’s operation.

Osimini said, “We are here to tell Greenville that enough is enough. They took this land of over 1550 plots on lease in 2015 and MoU is not written and no EIA report. If they employ our people they are not paying them well.

“We have invited them for a meeting but they refused. What we need now is to see the Managing Director of the company and discuss with him. We want them to show us the EIA report yet they are shying away from it.

“We want fresh negotiation with the company. There is peace today because of the OSPAC we have. We are spending a lot of money and they are here because there is peace in this community. When we request for support they will say they are paying tax to the government. They have refused to support us. We will be here for 14 days until they hear us.”

Also, Justina Okporo, a woman leader in the community, said the community is affected by the gas flared by the company, calling for better treatment of the community by Greenville.

Efforts to get the reaction of the company proved abortive as their gates are shut and the number given for contact did not yield any answer.