Multinational oil giant, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), has denied media reports that it sponsored soldiers to beat up some protesters at its facility in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers State.
The leadership of Omoku Youth Federation (OYA) had two weeks ago accused the oil company of sponsoring soldiers to attack it’s members who were protesting in front of OB/OB plant at Omoku, leading to the hospitalisation of some of them.
But, NAOC, in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, said it only notifies the armed forces whenever external activities put its plant and the people working in the area in a safety risk condition.
The statement reads in part: “A demonstration by a small group of protesters has been illegally blocking ObOb gates for over 48 hours, putting the continuity of operations and security of personnel at risk
“NAOC had invited the group to join talks held with the community, but the group declined and instead resorted to gate blocking.
“NAOC is and has always been open to dialogue with local communities, including small groups, but cannot accept acts of force such as blocking gates, or the dissemination of false claims
“NAOC does not sponsor any military force; rather, the company is due to notify the armed forces whenever external activities put the plant and the people working in the area in a safety risk condition
“NAOC has no evidence of violence at its gates as the few demonstrators dispersed as soon as prompted by pertinent security authorities, that has acted in the respect of the security and human rights best practices, as ascertained by pertinent authorities after the monitoring of CCTV images recorded.”