August 12, 2017

Delta villagers lay siege to oil company over alleged neglect

By Emma Amaize

PROTESTING indigenes of Ovade-Oghara community, Ethiope West Local Government Area, Delta State, weekend, grounded activities at the Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, PANACO, which they accused of neglecting the community since it started operation over 40 years ago in the area.

The placard-carrying villagers, including elders, chiefs, women and youths stormed the company as early as 5.00 am, Thursday, urging the company to vacate the land.

Some of the placards bore such inscriptions as: “Enough is enough,”  “The marriage between Pan Ocean Oil Company and Ovade community is heading for  divorce due to neglect and suffering of the people after over 40 years of oil exploration and exploitation,”  “Fadeyi,  leave us alone,” and  “ Re-instate our sacked youths.”

The villagers chanted solidarity songs as  they marched on every available space around, stopping movements in and out of the company , while their indefinite protest continued

Chairman of the community, Mr. Hitler Igbakpa, secretary, Hon. Odeh Oghominene Festus, chief prince of Oghara Kingdom,  Chief Simeon Ogheneovo Odeh, and others, told newsmen that after about 45 years of oil exploration in Ovade, what they have in return was “systematic, malicious and provocative under development of their community and people.”

They claimed that the company was also oppressing, suppressing, victimizing, marginalizing and discriminating against the people, despite the intervention of the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, in the past.