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Residents of oil-producing areas demand services

Author: Garang Abraham | Published: Friday, October 16, 2020

An oil spill in Alien area in 2019 | File picture

Residents of some oil-producing areas in Unity State have staged peaceful protests, demanding the provision of essential services by an oil company.

The locals want Greater Pioneer Operating Company, GPOC, to live up to its corporate social responsibilities such as the provision of healthcare, roads, education and employment services.

The residents of Rubkona, Mayom and Koch went to the streets on Thursday morning to also demand clean drinking water.

Magok Maluit is among youths from Rubkona County who have reportedly camped at the GPOC field offices.

“There are roads but they are bad. We don’t access Koch, we don’t access Mayom, we don’t access Leer and other counties, yet we are oil-producing states. What does that mean?” He asked.

According to the protestors, a letter of demands was presented to the undersecretary in the Ministry of Petroleum weeks ago.

They claim the Chinese oil consortium, in which the government is a shareholder, promised to rehabilitate roads, provide crucial services and conserve the environment.

This included cleaning up of fuel spills.

“The strike will continue until the ministry and GPOC provide us with a positive solution regarding what we placed in the MoU. If they don’t, then we will continue,” he added.

People in the area have been living in fear after an oil pipeline in Rubkona raptured.

The crude oil linkages were said to have lasted for two days before the communities realized and reported the matter to the company.

The leakages that covered over 4 km square area were later stopped.

This is the second such protests against oil companies since August 2020 after residents of Melut County in Upper Nile state demanded services from Dar Petroleum company.

Efforts to reach the Ministry of Petroleum and GPOC for comments were not immediately successful.

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