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3 Sep 2016

Chukwudi Akasike, Punch Newspaper (Nigeria)

Nigeria: Community members allege rights abuses by soldiers "attached to Total"; company denies allegations

"Rivers community, oil firm disagree over alleged soldiers’ invasion", 3 Sept 2016

...[W]hile the community insisted that six houses were set ablaze by soldiers, the oil company said nothing of such happened... One of the youth leaders in the area, Mr. George Agbesor, expressed sadness over the development and added that residents of the community were currently living in fear as a result of an encounter with some soldiers attached to the oil firm... In his remark, a former councillor for Ward 11, Ahoada East LGA, Mr. Henry Meshach, noted that rather than meet with the community heads, armed soldiers attached to Total shot at protesting youths in the community. He disclosed that at least, six houses were burnt down by the soldiers, including two of them belonging to two ageing widows...Reacting, the oil firm [Total Exploration and Production Nigeria- TEPN] denied claims by Odiemerenyi community that armed soldiers attached to its staff attacked protesting youths and burnt down houses in the area...TEPNG’s Deputy General Manager, Media and Public Affairs…in a statement...pointed out that the oil firm was committed to working closely with its host communities as part of its corporate social responsibility policy and respect for human rights.