·Protesters are rebels —EPZ committee
RESIDENTS of Ugborodo, on Wednesday, besieged Chevron facilities at Escravos, demanding that the company should recognise the Interim Management Committee (IMC) instituted to manage the affairs of the people.
The protesters had laid siege on the facilities in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, since Tuesday, distrupting operations of the company in the process.
They said they would not leave the facilities until their demands were met by the oil giant.
IMC was instituted to manage the community’s affair in the absence of constitutionally appointed community trust.
The protesters, including men, women were chanting protests songs and accusing the company of neglect and refusal to recognise IMC.
Speaking on the development, former chairman of the Ugborodu Community Trust, Mr Sandys Omadeli, said IMC was the collective decision of the community put in place in March, adding that the oil giant had been dealing with factional leaders, whose tenure had since expired.
He said IMC did not need government’s approval for recognition as being demanded by Chevron, noting that the state government had no business in community affairs.
“This issue has been on for six months and nobody had been concerned about resolving it. The old leaders have the backing of the state government and Chevron is stressing that the IMC must have government backing before it can accord it recognition. I don’t know where government has started appointing leaders for communities,” Omadeli opined.
One of the protesters decried the level of infrastructural non-availability and decay in the area, adding that indigenes of the area were being enslaved.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for Ogidigben EPZ Interface Committee, Alex Eyengho, said the protest ongoing was illegal and spearheaded by a handful of rebels in Ugborodo community against the wish of majority of the indigenes.
Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Hastrupp and Chevrons General Manager, Policy, could not be reached for comments on the development.