By Davies Iheamnachor, Port-Harcourt
Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has pleaded with persons living with disabilities to please vacate their premises.
The firm also stated that it was constrained by the continuous occupation of their facility by the disabled persons, urging the protesters to accept dialogue. It will be recalled that scores of persons living with disabilities within the Niger Delta region had on Wednesday stormed the Port Harcourt office of Shell in protest alleging abandonment.
However, the Media Relations Manager, Bamidele Odugbesan, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said the development was worrisome, urging the protesting individuals to vacate the area.
Odungbesan said: “A group of persons who claim to be representing Great Minds Foundation of People Living with Deformities (Niger Delta), arrived the main access gates to our Port Harcourt Industrial Area and Residential Area on 20 January 2021, impeding access, and they have remained there until the time of issuing this statement.
“The group presented a letter, dated 15 January 2021, demanding from SPDC a total sum of N567million for the ‘empowerment’ of its members.”
He regretted that all please on the protesters have fallen on deaf ears, wondering why the protesters have refused to accept dialogue. He added that the firm has also shown enough evidence of SPDC’s interventionist programmes for the disabled persons, bemoaning that the protesters want N20 million before they would demobilise.
He said: “All pleas to them to vacate our access gates and embrace dialogue failed as they presented another request for N20million as a condition to demobilize their members.
“We have shown the group evidence of the many programmes in support of people with special needs both within the Niger Delta and the wider Nigeria. They form a key part of our social investment programmes for vulnerable groups in our communities.
“We believe in dialogue and would advise the group to embrace non-disruptive approach in soliciting support We are also asking the group to vacate our access gates and premises and desist from threatening and harassing our staff.”