Irish Ambassador Visits SACA and Bayelsa Communities Again

Irish Ambassador and Entourage

Without any particular investments or business interests in the Niger Delta, the Republic of Ireland is arguably one of the countries that has demonstrated the most concern for the safety and livelihoods of the host communities in this area. This is evident, not only in the passion with which the founder and Board Chairman of SACA, Fr. Kevin O'Hara, an Irish priest, has worked for human rights, environmental, economic and social justice in the Niger Delta for over 2 decades. But it is not only him; the government of Ireland, since the pre-colonial times, has supported the region in development, agriculture, healthcare and education. More recently, the country's embassy in Abuja has shown particular interest in the plights of the host communities in the hands of the multinationals.

Barely 2 years after his first visit in August 2016, the ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Mr. Sean Hoy, has visited Bayelsa State again, from July 26 to 28, 2018. Recall that the embassy under Mr. Hoy had, in 2015, sponsored the building and stocking of 4 fishponds for Ikarama women and youths in Okordia/Zarama Cluster. During his first visit in 2016, Mr. Hoy had visited Ikarama community in Okordia/Zarama Cluster, Imiringi in Kolo Creek Cluster, Koroama in Gbarain/Ekpetiama Cluster and Shell's Central Processing Facility (CPF) at Gbarain, where he met with some top Shell officials regarding best practice in the area.

This time, he met with representatives of all the Gbarain/Ekpetiama host communities and their nominated negotiators for the new GMoU, in Obunagha townhall.

The ambassador, who first met with SACA staff, was received at the State Government House by the State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd.) and some of the State commissioners. He then proceeded with SACA staff to Obunagha townhall where he met with representatives of all the communities in Gbarain-Ekpetiama Cluster and had discussions with them, SACA staff and government officials, on the various problems the Cluster have been having with the implementation of Shell's GMoU in the area.

The ambassador and his entourage also visited the 2 clan heads of the Cluster, King Gabriel Aka of Gbarain Kingdom and King Bubaraye Dakolo of Ekpetiama Kingdom, in their palaces.

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