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Oghara indigenes protest non-employment by oil firm

By Festus Ahon
UGHELLI — THE people of Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday, protested against Pan Ocean Oil Company for  allegedly refusing to employ indigenes. The protesters barred workers from gaining entrance into the company’s premises.

The protesters, who stormed the company’s yard at Ovade-Oghara at about 6:00a.m. lamented that the company, which had been operating in the area for over 37 years, has brought untold hardship on the indigenes.

The protesters were over 5,000, comprising youths, women and elders from Ovade-Oghara community.
They barricaded all the entrances to the company’s premises, claiming that the company had failed to respect the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, and the Local Content deal it entered with the community.

According to the protesters, the protest will continue until their requests were met by the company.

Addressing the protesters, the member representing the area in Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Ben Igbakpa, said the protesters would not leave the company’s premises until their grievances were addressed.

Igbakpa, who ordered the shutting down of the company’s operation, urged the protesters to remain peaceful in the protest.

He said they had qualified persons that could work in the company but were not being employed, adding that the community has no water and good road.

He condemned the management of the company for not carrying the people of the area along in its operation and noted that its attitude towards its host community was poor.

Igbakpa, however, told the protesters to be peaceful in their agitation.

Efforts made to reach management of the company for comment on the issue proved abortive  at press time.


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