By Emma Arubi
THE Odion/Alders town community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, has declared Westminister Dredging and Marine Company operating on their land a persona non grata, over alleged environment hazards and deliberate neglect spanning over 10 years. They community has meanwhile issued a 21-day ultimatum to the company to pay them the sum of N1.6 billion compensation or face their wrath.
The community also accused the Joint Task Force, JTF, operatives and other relevant government agency of being bought over by the company, making it hard for them to appropriately tackle the resulting dispute between both parties, thereby putting the community in a difficulty position.
In a letter addressed to the Operation Manager of the dredging company in Warri by the community president-general, Mr. Kingsley Atsedagho and secretary-general, Mr. Tuoyo Humphrey, they expressed regret that the long harmonious relationship that once existed between parties up to the year 2000 was “spontaneously and without provocation terminated by the company, through the sacking of all their youths in the employment of the company and stoppage of contract award to local contractors from the Odion/Alders town community.”
The community said they are peace loving and have resisted the temptation to resort to violence in their agitation so far, but it now appears that Westminister Dredging and Marine was taking them for granted and had resorted to criminalizing the youths and illegally deploying the JTF to brutalize the people.