By Godfrey BIVBERE
Some protesters who claimed to be from ‘host communities’ Delta Ports of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Warri, early this week disrupted port activities in protest against the posture of a terminal operator.
The protest which was led by one Emiko Oghomienor and another Ijaw youth leader, led to stoppage of port operations for about several hours and caused heavy traffic logjam that took the combined efforts of military men and police officers to bring under control.
The protesters told the management of the port led, by the Port Manager; Mr. Obumneme Onuenyenwu, that they took to the peaceful protest against the operator, as all avenue explored to resolve their grievances with the company fell on deaf ears.
They alleged that out of about 18 companies engaged in different activities in the port, only the operator has refused to dialogue and sign any M.o.U with them after so many years of operations.
They alleged non-employment of qualified host community indigenes, non- award of contracts to indigenous and competent contractors, non-patronage of indigenous haulage trucks owners, while persons from outside the host communities are employed and engaged to lord it over them against the local content policy of the federal Government.
They said that they can no longer continue to fold their arms and allow the alleged gross marginalization practice of the operator to continue.
A source who pleaded anonymity said that the protest was stage-managed by another competitor in Warri port.
He alleged that the same company had been sponsoring write-ups and propaganda against the operator, even as he added that “they are yet to understand that Nigerian ports are in a new dispensation of concessioning, where ports are meant for certain category of cargoes”.