Hundreds of Ahoada youths barricade gates of oil company, demand immediate employment

George Onah

7 November 2011, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt –
No fewer than 400 hundred placard-carrying youths in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, have protested the alleged non-employment of youths of the area in a company, which handles multi-billion pipeline projects in Ekpeyeland.

It was gathered that the youths in their number barricaded the entrance and exit gates of the company, yesterday, also demanded the sacking of two top management staff of the company, (names withheld) which they claimed were “clog in the wheel” of their being employed.

Leader of the angry youths Comrade Rogers Jared told newsmen that they would remain at the premises for “as long as our demands are met, even if it would take several months for this to happen”, adding that it was their legitimate right to seek for employment from companies operating in the area.

Jared drew attention to the fact that ZB joint ventures has refused to comply with the local content act signed into law by Mr. President. He reasoned that the refusal hads contributed to the upsurge of youth restiveness, which has also prompted some of them to other vices.

Some of the placards read “Ekpeye youths are qualified for any job”, “stop this marginalisation, we deserve better treatment”, “Obey local content law and employ indigenous youths”,“Our patient has ran out, give us our due”, “We have been pushed to the wall, we will push you to the forest” and so on.

Contacted, chairman of the council High Chief Cassidy Ikegbidi said the company was being unduly difficult towards their landlords and the youths. He was of the view that government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of youth employment.

Ikegbidi alleged that the human resources and the community relations managers “have sold the employment quota’s of the indigenes to non-indigenes, explaining that the only way to solve this problem was for ZB management to sack both manager “so as to pave way for peaceful negotiation. He appealed to the youths to remain peaceful in their agitation for employment.
Also contacted, the Community Relations Manager Mr Chukwu Shedrack confirmed the protest, stating that “there was a serious protest by the youths of the area early this morning that led to the stopping of the operation and assured that the matter would be resolved amicably.

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