In a swift reaction to the intervention of the Delta State Governor in the on-going faceoff between Chevron Nigeria Limited and its host communities, Omadino, Ureju and other Oil producing communities of Itsekiri ethnic extraction have expressed their dissatisfaction and rejection of the attempt by the state Governor to reduce their agitation to the issue of internal wrangling between factions of the leadership of Ugborodo people.
In an interview with our correspondent in Warri the Chairmen of at least two of the communities hosting Chevron facilities who spoke on behalf of their cluster of communities, Mr. Aginejuone Emmmanuel and …… of Omadino and Ureju respectively expressed dismay that suc h magnitude of agitation could easily have been reduced into the leadership struggle in one community with the other communities that host over 70 percent of Chevron oil wells in Delta State are being relegated to the background.
The spokesmen of these communities emphasized: “We reject in its entirety the attempt by Governor Ifeayin Okowa to distort and completely miscomprehend our genuine struggle against the continued marginalisation of our people by imagining that the purported resolution of Ugborodo leadership struggle will address the issues raised by our protest. We consider this the height of insincerity and dehumanisation of our protest”.
They therefore called on the Delta Governor and Chervon Nigeria Limited to approach the resolution of the issue from root causes of the problem instead of reducing it into the Ugborodo leadership struggle.
While they concede that Ugborodo is a part of the struggle, they stated that: “the major oil facilities in Ugborodo are storage facilities, communities like Omadino and Ureju are host to the highest number of well heads in the state and these are the areas that feel the impact of exploration activities most”. Omadino they said is the only community in the state with has two major oil fields.
The spokesmen vehemently rejected the decisions reached in the peace meeting between leaders of Ugborodo Community, Chevron Nigeria Limited and the Delta State Government, organized by the State Government in Government House, Asaba on Monday the 13th of August, 2016 which purports to be a resolution of the issues giving rise to the protest.
They contended that the age long neglect of their communities, the brazen display of corporate irresponsibility especially in the area of youth employment and training, social infrastructure, scholarship awards and I.T placements but to mention a few constitute the root cause of this protest.
They also contend that the company is in flagrant violation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 which mandates all regulatory authorities, operators, contractors, sub-contractors, alliance partners and other entities involved in any project, operation, activity or transaction in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to consider local content as an important element of their overall project development and management philosophy for project execution.
They referred specifically to S. 26 of the Act which makes it obligatory for Chevron to locate within the project office in the area where it has significant amount of its operations, with personnel decision making authority.
They criticised the company for not doing this but leaving their decision making offices in Lagos State outside Delta State while the offices in the State remains mere puppets.
They also referred to S. 28 (2) which makes it mandatory for the company not only employ personnel from the area of its operation but a reasonable number from the area.
They vowed to continue and intensify their protest if these issues are not addressed.