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Friday, July 12, 2024

Okowa Fails To Resolve Chevron, Ogborodo Crisis

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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie

… As Olu Of Warri Wades In

Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has displayed incompetence in his inability to find a lasting solution to the bottlenecks that led Ugborodo, an Itsekiri community to lay a 6-day siege on Chevron Nigeria Limited.

The community said, Chevron Nigeria Limited has abandoned, discriminate and non-recognition of the Interim Management Committee formed by the company unless it has the state government backing.

Several attempts made by Okowa and security operatives to dispel the irate youths who barricaded the company’s gate were unsuccessful.

But with the timely intervention of the Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, the youth relented with a vow to storm the company again unless Chevron stayed put on the accord arrived at in the palace.

The 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 selected stakeholders with the state governor, 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.”

It would be recall that following the abandonment of its Corporate Social Responsibility to the people of Ugborodo community in Itsekiri, Warri South West Local Government of Delta State coupled with perpetual discrimination and non-recognition of the Interim Management Committee (IMC), formed by Chevron Nigeria Limited, the people of Ugborodo community have laid siege on the company with a vow to never relent until their demands are met.

Perturbed by the insistence of the community not to vacate siege on the company, the state Governor Okowa, had invited the Ugborodo people, Chevron Nigeria Limited and heads of security agencies in the state to a meeting at Asaba, the capital, on Monday, following the siege to the oil company, since Tuesday by enraged villagers.

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