By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
About nine persons from Finima community have sustained injuries following a clash of rival protesters seeking varying interests in the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) in Bonny Kingdom, Rivers State.
Trouble started when some youths allegedly from Bonny kingdom staged a counter-protest against the people of Finima, who were said to be on a peaceful demonstration against the NLNG.
Youths, elders and women of Finima blocked the main entrance to the industrial area of NLNG on Thursday morning, demanding to be recognised as landlords of the gas multinational company.
The protesters, numbering over 1000, displayed placards with inscriptions such as: “NLNG respect the NOGICD Act, give us our rights as host communities”; “NLNG stay out of community politics”; “We shall not back down; the Brown House in Finima is NLNG landlord”and “NCDMB’s CCG is clear. NLNG obey Nigerian laws.”
Speaking for Finima protesters, Dagogo Brown, said many attempts to hold dialogue with management of NLNG on the matter proved abortive.
Brown said: “We are tired with our tenant, NLNG. They have refused to obey the NOGICD Act of 2010 which clearly defined an host community and their rights.
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“Finima is the landlords of NLNG and we need to be recognised as such. Finima will not rest until what we deserved by the law of Nigeria, is given to us. And NLNG as corporate citizen should respect Nigerian laws.”
Also speaking, women leader and former Councillor in Finima, Mrs. Prinye Kabaka, said the people were being grossly marginalised by NLNG.
She said: “NLNG train 1-6 sited in Finima and even the upcoming Train-7 project is in Finima, so do we need to fight before we are recognized?
“We are calling on the federal government to call NLNG to order. Let them obey the Nigerian laws as stipulated in the NOGICD Act
“We have graduates and MSc holders from Finima community working as cleaners in NLNG. Scholarships are not given to us. Everything is going to Bonny. Out of 250 scholarships every year, only one or two will come to Finima.”
But some youths believed to have come from Bonny caused commotion when they staged a counter protest against Finima people.
The youths reportedly attacked the Finima protesters, critically injuring nine people and destroying seven vehicles, including burning a bus belonging to Finima Youths Congress.