19 March 2013, Abuja – Delta State’s oil producing communities have aske Chevron Nigeria Limited to desist from recognition and dealings with a self-imposed group of individuals and collaborate with the communities directly.
In a statement they issued at the weekend in Abuja, the members of the Egbema and Gbaramatu kingdoms of the state, the oil producing communities accused Chevron of toying with the peace of the communities by supporting a group of people who did not represent the entire communities.
They called on the oil company to support moves by the elders of the communities to conduct elections of a new Egbema/Gbaramatu Community Development Council, EGCDC, in accordance with the subsisting three-year tenure arrangement for the council.
The said: “It is indeed disheartening and worrisome that despite several formal complaints by well-meaning individuals and groups from Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms urging the company to support moves by the elders of the communities to conduct elections of a new Egbema/Gbaramatu Community Development Council the company has refused to come to terms on the security implications of its provocative and divisive activities, thereby threatening the peace achieved by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the volatile Niger Delta region barely three years ago.”
The communities maintained that the refusal of the present leadership of the EGCDC whose tenure had expired to hand over to another set of people was largely responsible for the threat to peaceful co-existence in the community.
“While it is true that fresh violence looms within the Egbema/Gbaramatu kingdoms in Warri North and Warri South West Local Government Areas of Delta State respectively, the unfolding dangerous scenario, an imminent bloodbath which might be unprecedented if not urgently checked, is not propelled by Chevron’s inadequate funding of the EGCDC.
“It is basically as a result of the determination of a few people in the EGCDC to turn the commonwealth of the communities to a private estate other activities inimical to the welfare and interest of the generality of the people,” they further stated.
They recalled the recent violent confrontation in some communities within the same Excravos area of the state which led to the loss of seven lives following protests over shady activities of multinational oil firms.
They also recalled the Ogoni crises in Rivers State which erupted under similar circumstances, warning that the factors that ignited these two instances were not as grave as the prevailing situation in Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms.