17 August 2016, Warri – The people of oil-rich Ugborodo community, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, Wednesday, vowed not to lift the siege to the Escravos Tank Farm, belonging to the Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL until the company looked into their demands.
They however, thanked the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, for his mediation on Monday differing with the National Association of Itsekiri Graduates, NAIG, and four other Itsekiri groups, which rejected Okowa’s resolution on Tuesday.
National Youth chair of Ugborodo community President, Mr. Ofe Nene, in a letter thanking the governor for his intervention, said: “We are not out in Chevron Nigeria Limited facility gate, both day and night since Monday the 8th of August, 2016 till date. Not because we enjoy the torrent and very dangerous sea breeze ofthe Atlantic Ocean, but because we need the above stated changes to be effected in our community.”
“Except the issues are addressed, we shall not leave or move an inch from Chevron Nigeria Limited tank farm gate in Ugborodo. Because we cannot continue with this same old pattern of Chevron Nigeria Limited always going to negotiation table with Ugborodo community to cover prominent and pressing issues with other issues, thereby attending to the colossal issues partially,” he stated.
Nene explained: “The major reason for the protest as stated categorically by the youths of Ugborodo community at the aforementioned meeting is yet to be addressed.”
“These issues include the development and provision of basic amenities to our community, employment of our indigenes, enthroning of better working condition and pay for our indigenes already working in Chevron Nigeria Limited and abolishing of casual workers.
“Conversion of all our indigenes working in the company as casual workers to staff and finally,the relocation of Chevron Nigeria Limited Administrative headquarters to Warri Kingdom,” he added.
He said, “Sir, it will interest you to know that in Ugborodo today, ordinary headache kill people because there is no single health centre in the community. I can categorically state that most indigenes of the community have only seen a tarred road in the television because there is no motorable road in the community, there is no good school, potable drinking water or even good housing for people to stay because Chevron Nigeria Limited have abandoned the Ugborodo New town Project they promised the community.”
“As I write you now, the average life sperm of indigenes of Ugborodo is now 45 yearsas a result of the highly polluted environment we live in, which is caused bythe exploration and exploitation of the crude oil in our land by ChevronNigeria Limited,” he added.
According to him: “This same company has refused to employ our indigenes and the few they employed have been relegated to casual workers without any condition of service,hence they are been treated like animals. These workers do not have stable salary;hence, they cannot plan or save because they do not know what their next salary will be.”
He stated further, “You will bear me witness that the issues that have led most Niger Delta youths into restiveness and militancy is not different from this, but we are civil people and will continue to push for our right peacefully with all possible ways within the ambit of the law.”
The youth leader said the company has used the same pattern over the years to impoverishthe community.
He enjoined Okowa to use your good office to compel Chevron Nigeria Limited to do the needful in Ugborodo community as above stated to finally settle this issue once and for all as well as enthrone true and long lasting peace between us.”
On the governor’s role so far, he said: “I thank you for your intervention to settle the ongoing protest by the Ugborodo people against the marginalization,oppression and the conscious actions and inactions of Chevron Nigeria Limited, which has brought underdevelopment, poverty and impoverishment to the community.”
“I want to state emphatically that your resolution of the Ugborodo leadership crisis is commendable and we are not in contention with 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,” he said.