By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT— Eight communities in Abua/Oduah, Ahoada West, Ikwerre and Emohua Local Government Areas of Rivers State have picketed Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Limited, NDPR, over alleged sacking of some top management staff of the firm and the failure of the firm to create opportunities for host community youths.
The communities, Ogbele, Obumeze, Oshiugbokor, Otari, Omaraka, Rumuekpe, Rumuji and Omerelu, where NDPR operates, further said they were not benefiting from all the agreements they entered into with the firm in the areas of jobs and empowerments.
It was gathered that some individuals in Ogbele community, a week ago, staged a protest at the facility of NDPR in their area, seeking the sack of three top management staff of the company.
The development had sparked tension in the area, leading to shutting down of NDPR’s operations in the area temporarily.
However, the eight communities, which stormed the office of NDPR in Port Harcourt, yesterday, in a peaceful demonstration, in a protest letter by 50 of the community representatives and submitted to NDPR, disassociated themselves from the earlier protest by the individuals in which they called for the sack of some staff members of the company.
The letter read: “We insist and declare that Allaji Buba Umaru, Mr. Friday Ogwu and Mrs. Ijeoma Okoli have committed no offence to warrant sacking. The call for their sack was unfounded, predicated on selfish reasoning and a cheap blackmail meant to stampede the company for hijack. Those holding sack them opinion are not community representatives and as such, should be discarded for want of merit.
“We also demand that, henceforth, patronage of any kind should be channelled through authorised community rather than the seeming practice of kowtowing to the sneeze of one family, whose sole interest is to commandeer all for itself.
“The danger is, if encouraged, any group or family or individual can wake up and demand the sack of the managing director.
“We also seek explanation as to the rumoured monetary pay-out to the protesters, who illegally occupied the company’s facilities. Any attempt to adhere to the demands of these selfish individuals will result to a total shutdown of the operations of NDPR.”
While handing over the protest letter, the leader of the protesters, Dr. Kikpoye Gogo, called on the firm to create more employment and empowerment programmes for its host communities’ youths.
NDPR regrets impact of one week shut down of operations in community
Meanwhile, the Technical Manager, NDPR, Mr. Ebenezer Ageh, receiving the letter for the company, regretted that the firm’s operations had been shut down for over one week because of the protests.
Ageh said the company would continue to toe the path of peace in its engagement with the host communities, adding that all issues raised would be resolved by the firm to enable them resume operations in the affected area.