Mkpoikana Udoma 25 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Indigenes of Eleme in Rivers State, the host to Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, are alleging marginalisation by the company.
To drive home the allegation, not less than 1,000 indigenes of Eleme last week protested outside the company premises, barricading the entrance.
The protesters, made up of men and women from six host communities of the firm in Eleme Local Government Area, accused the Managing Director of Indorama Petrochemicals of allegedly conniving with Elano Investment Limited to shortchange the communities of their share of dividends accruing to them since the petrochemical firm was privatised several years ago.
Leader of the protesters, Mr. Benjamin Ngokana, said Elano was originally set up by the six communities to access dividends on the 7.5 percent shares conceded to the communities during the privatisation of the petrochemical company, alleging that the communities had not seen their own share of the money since then.
Ngokana explained that their demands were that the petrochemical company should pay the dividends of the communities directly to the host communities, adding that the communities’ employment quota should also be given directly to the communities.
“All Memoranda of Understanding between the communities and the company are outdated and should be renewed.
“Employment opportunities for indigenes of Eleme are sold out to non-indigenes, this must stop. Elano Investment Limited should be dissolved. Our 7.5 percent fertiliser shares should be given to us directly,” he said.
When contacted, the management of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals denied conniving with Elano Investment or any person to defraud the communities of their share of the dividends accruing to them.
Head, Corporate Communications of Indorama, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, told our correspondent in Port Harcourt that plans were in top gear for a tripartite meeting between the company, Elano Investment and the communities representatives to resolve the issues.
But, the management of Elano Investment denied the allegations levelled against it by the protesters. Spokesperson for Elano Investment Limited, Mr. Onorwi Ngofa, said renewal of MoU was not the business of Elano but between the host communities and the company.
Ngofa also said if for any reason the protesters felt that Elano should be dissolved, there were procedures to follow, such as going to a federal high court and asking for a dissolution since Elano is a limited liability company.
It should be noted that Elano Investment Limited manages the dividend from the 7.5 percent equity allocated to the Eleme communities that play host to Indorama/EPCL.