By Emma Amaize & Perez Brisibe
WARRI—FIVE Itsekiri groups, yesterday, handed Chevron Nigeria Limited, a seven-day ultimatum to negotiate with Ugborodo community according to the truce reached at the palace of His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli I, Olu of Warri, on Monday or they would shut down the company’s operations in Itsekiriland.
The groups, Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC, National Association of Itsekiri Graduates, NAIG, HOSTCOM, Itsekiri Youth Wing, Movement for the Protection of Itsekiri Homeland Development and History, MPIHDH and Benin River Pressure Group, BRPG, said that the meeting of factional leaders and select stakeholders with the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, in Asaba on Tuesday did not address their demands.
They said that the protesters vacated Chevron’s office in Asaba, not because Okowa ordered so, but because the Warri monarch earlier, same day, when Chevron officials went to beg him at his palace in Warri to intervene, ordered the protesters to lift the siege.
The groups, in a statement by Awani Esimaje, Collins Edema and others, said that the siege to Chevron’s Ugborodo Tank Farm was still on.
They said that the Asaba meeting dwelt on factional leadership in Ugborodo, whereas their case was that Chevron should move its operational headquarters to Itsekiriland like other oil firms and implement the Local Content Policy.
President of NAIG, Collins Edema, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, said: “We suspended the siege to the Warri office of the company following an appeal to us by the Olu of Warri.”
Dissociating the groups from the resolution of the Monday meeting with representatives of the community, security agencies and the state government in Asaba, he said: “INYC, NAIG, HOSTCOM Itsekiri Youth Wing, MPIHDH and BRPG, the five groups that staged the Warri protest and participated in the hunker at Ugborodo, maintain that the meeting between the governor and representatives of the community was “alien to the reasons for our protests.
“We dissociate ourselves from that meeting because what was discussed there was not what the protest is about.”