By Onozure Dania & Prince Okafor
Local Content Contractors, LCC, across Ijaw communities in Delta State, Thursday, shut down the premises of Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, in Warri, protesting what they termed marginalisation of their contractors by the oil giant.
The protesters, who were at the Chevron gate as early as 6a.m., prevented workers from entering and coming out of the company’s premises for several hours.
The protesters, comprising local contractors from Egbema, Gbaramatu, and Ogulagha communities, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “35 LCC Ijaw beneficiaries demand payment,” “Enough of this tactical enslavement of Ijaws by Chevron,” “CNL pay our money,” “Happy must go,” “Chevron stop this insensitivity and show a human face,” among others.
Mr. Joel Tonjoh, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved contractors, accused Chevron of treating the Ijaw contractors with disdain, adding that in the past two years, the company has refused to pay their contractors for services rendered.
According to him, “if Chevron does not attend to us by paying us our money, we will shut down every offshore operations of Chevron in our their communities.
“We are angered by the fact that the other two communities, Itsekiri and Ilaje, have continued to receive payments from Chevron, while the Ijaw beneficiaries have been left out.
“Despite several letters and petitions to Chevron, the company has continued to ignore us, telling us that they will do something. But up till now, Chevron is yet to do anything.
“The Ijaw LCCs have not been paid for the past two years. They are owing us over N200 million now, which is injustice. If this issue is not addressed, we will shut down operations in our area.
“We are not going to allow any personal boats to pass through our creeks.”
When Vanguard contacted Chevron over the contractors’ claim, its General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, said: “CNL is aware of issues raised by some Ijaw community youths in the Western Niger Delta. We are working with relevant stakeholders for the peaceful resolution of the issues.
“At CNL, we continue to fulfill our contractual obligations to our employees, contractors and other suppliers in a timely manner.
“CNL reiterates its commitment to ethics and the respect for the Rule of Law in the resolution of issues.
“We continue to partner relevant stakeholders to support socio-economic development through our robust social investment programmes, within available resources and opportunities.”