Today when the name Chevron Nigeria Limited is mentioned in Itsekiri land by anyone, the images that jumps into the minds of an average Itsekiri person, is that of oppression, poverty, under development, joblessness, corruption, intimidation, cruelty of government, environmental degradation and pollution, divide and rule, economic slavery, desertion of Itsekiri homelands, wasted dreams of Itsekiri best brains, raping of the people collective sense of dignity and absolute despair and darkness.
About five decades ago, when Gulf Nigeria Limited berthed on the Itsekiri nation shores and they were well received by our fathers with open hands and minds, the expectations of our people was very high when they were told that a special liquid that transformed squalors and deserts abroad, has been discovered in commercial quantity in their homelands . Promises were made by government and the company that life will be better, social basic amenities shall be provided within weeks of operations and our people especially the youths shall be gainfully employed. These wonderful promises were too good to hear and so there was no rigidity by our fathers on the negotiating table because they believed it was a mutual agreement that will benefit their people and communities and government and the multinational on the other hand. Sadly, our fathers were totally wrong and today, fifty years on, their descendants are bearing the brunt of the fair lady from the number one most “democratic” nation on earth, the United States of America. A country whose foundation we were informed was built on the rule of law, respect of Human Rights and pursuit of justice for all its citizens no matter where they came from.
With time and more exploration and exploitation activities in the oil and gas sector and with the mono economic revenue generation inflow into the Nigerian national treasury, Itsekiri nation one of the most marginalized and suppressed micro minority tribe by the Nigerias state, became the hub of the black gold as it started contributing over thirty five percent to GDP of the country as new fields were been discovered in Itsekiri homelands such as Olero, Dibi, Abiteye, Escravos, Uton-Nana, Makaraba, Okan, Meje, Meren, BOP and several offshore platforms in Itsekiri land.
When Chevron took over the investments of GULF Nigeria Limited, hopes were high and our people dreamt of a better future where the shortcomings of the past investors would be extricated from the memories of our people. Chevron like a pretending dying lion, was to swoop on our people unexpectedly when suddenly, various anti Itsekiri policies inimical to the growth and development of our people, communities and engagement of our people in their operations started rearing its ugly head immediately after Itsekiri nation was decimated by the Ijaws in connivance with various government in Delta state and Nigeria where our people were gruesomely murdered in cold blood and all Itsekiri communities burnt down and summarily wiped out of the face of the earth in the second phase of the Warri crisis that begun in 2003.
It is on record that immediately after all Itsekiri communities were burnt and deserted and with thousands of our people living as refugees in various places in Nigeria without government protection and provisions to return safely to their devastated homelands, certain persons in Chevron and other multinationals operating in Warri kingdom Itsekiri ancestral homelands began to mount pressure unnecessarily on the Itsekiri people instead of government for the failure to adequately protect National assets in Itsekiri land at the above named fields which are Chevron operational areas. The poor Itsekiri people who could not even defend themselves against the invading armies of the murderous Ijaw nation from over five states of the federation, we’re been “blamed” strangely by the multinationals. In disarray, dismay and hopelessness, the Itsekiri people who until the genocide and pogrom enjoyed exclusive access and assess to ALL the benefits accruing from their homelands were be told that for them to enjoy anything development and job opportunities, they will have to accept a new and alien system that will not only water down their rights and influence in their homelands but will have to swallow the bitter pill of SHARING it’s oil benefits with her sworn enemies the Ijaws who just failed to fulfill their annihilation crusade against the accommodating host, the Itsekiri people. Itsekiri communities and their leaders and youths kicked against the new FORCED ORDER which they NEVER consented to but was forced on their throats as Chevron unilaterally and without any formal agreement, jettisoned the Memoranda of understanding (MOU) it has signed with the various communities with the state government as witness. That illegal scheme and dubious manipulation of the company that prides itself as a responsible organization and a democratic country was to birth the new MOSTER IN ITSEKIRI LAND, THE IRDC otherwise known as Itsekiri regional development council, an unregistered body which Chevron Nigeria Limited is active complicity with both the Delta State government and the federal government and the three major tribes in Nigeria has brought forcefully to cage our people from gaining free access into companies operating in the fatherland as a result of a notorious , malicious, wicked and NAZI Adolf Hitler concentration camp and Nelson Mandela Robbin Island prison replica called CLOSE CAMP POLICY. A policy that denied our people and indigenes access to job opportunities in their land where they can only watch and see from our seashores and communities planes and boats bring strangers to take over their jobs.
Because there was extreme poverty in Itsekiri land immediately after the Warri crisis, Chevron was able to find willing hands in Itsekiri who were greedy to make quick cash and the dreaded first GMOU that brought together a POWER CABAL IN ITSEKIRI LAND who became over night billionaires by freely accessing Itsekiri developmental funds for over twenty seven oil bearing and impacted communities was formed. Since that fateful day in 2006, Itsekiri nation has never remained the same again.