Itsekiri youths has continued siege to Shell facility, The Nation can confirm.
Members of Itsekiri host communities of Ugborodo in Warri Southwest Local Government Area of Delta State yesterday continued their siege to Shell Petroleum Development Company’s Ogidigben flow station in the area.
The protest, which began on Friday, continued amidst fear of a clash between the protesters and security operatives.
Some youths claimed that soldiers were being drafted in to quell the protest ‘by all means’.
Representatives of the protesting locals told our reporter that the soldiers were threatening to deal with them if they do not vacate the company’s premises by the end of yesterday.
They claimed that the purported threat by security agents, which could not be independently verified by our reporter, was capable of causing a crisis in the area.
The Effurun Barrack of the Nigerian Army and the Joint Task Force were yet to respond to our reporter’s request for information over the allegation of intimidation and threat to use of violence to quell the protest.
However, one of the protesters, Mr David Mamah, who is the Public Relations Officer of Ugborodo Community Youth, in a chat with The Nation, blamed the situation on the management of SPDC, which he claimed had neglected Ugborodo, its host community, for many years.
“To add insult to injury, our indigenes are denied job opportunities, which they are very qualified for.
“Companies owned by Ugborodo indigenes, with proven competence and expertise, are not given contracts meant for locals, in line with the Local Content Act.
“We will not stop this protest until we extract a commitment from SPDC and its Joint Venture partner, NNPC. Enough Is Enough! “.
Meanwhile, the latest siege to Ogidigben facility came on the heels of allegations by Olaja-Orori (Chief Priest) of Ugborodo (Olajori) Benson Omadeli, that the Group Managing Director of NNPC was neglecting the community in the distribution of benefits from oil exploration in the area.
Omadeli, in an open letter to President Buhari, on Friday, also faulted the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited and other multinationals operating in the area for “taking the peaceful disposition” of his people for weakness.
He said the American oil firm succumbed to violence by awarding contracts due to the Ugborodo community to their neighbours and giving local jobs to ‘foreigners’.