BY FESTUS AHON
UGHELLI— THOUSANDS of Isoko youths, under the aegis of Isoko Progressive Youth Centre, last weekend stormed the zonal headquarters of Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, in Benin, Edo State capital, to protest alleged marginalisation by the company.
The youths stormed the company’s premises at about 12p.m. on Friday in over 40 buses, chanting songs of grievances and displaying placards which bore inscriptions such as “We demand to be the sole heads of security jobs in the operational fields in Isokoland,” “Employ Isoko indigenes as staff,” amongst others.
Speaking during the protest, President of the group, Mr. Anthony Ogbalor, said the protest was aimed at expressing their “grievances against SPDC, now operating as NPDC, other multinationals and their sub-contractors in Isokoland.”
Advising the company to desist from clandestine dealings in its operations in Isokoland, Ogbalor explained that the decision of the youths from the various communities in the Isoko nation to embark on the protest was a result of the failure of NPDC to acknowledge and act on series of letters written by the group to the company.
He said: “It is really unfortu-nate that the privilege that was given to SPDC, which they used to enslave our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, including the Isoko youths and the entire Isoko nation, the company and its sub-contractors have been taken as a right to impose margina-lisation and punishment on the Association of Isoko Indigenous Synergy Contractor/Skilled and Unskilled Workers.
“We are demanding that the association should be the sole head of all contract works in NPDC’s operational fields.”