Posted by Okodili Ndidi, Owerri | 20 June 2019 | 505 times
Youths from Izombe in Oguta Council Area of Imo State, on Wednesday, threatened to shut down Oil Flow Station belonging to an indigenous oil Firm operating in the community, SEPLAT Oil Company.
The aggrieved youths noted that the company has been operating in the community without signing any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or embarking on any form of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Addressing journalists at the Company’s gate, General of Izombe Clan, Chief Thaddaeus Nwachukwu, said that they were protesting the marginalization of the community by Seplat Oil Company, which he said has been operating Oil Rig without involving the indigenes.
He said that the Company has not shown any respect to local content.
Also speaking, Barr. Ezekwesili Nwauwa, who is also the Chairman of Niger Delta Youth Forum, said that the people have resolved to be peaceful but “should not be pushed to the wall”.
In his words ” the only evidence of oil exploration in Izombe is sponsorship of cultism and banditry by the oil company which is on record. Again, he informed that Seplat must settle the youths same way they settled Ohaji youths. He accused the company relation manager who is a female of doing more harm than good as she has an evil agenda.
“The youths of Izombe are unemployed. There is a total decay of infrastructure. Izombe doesn’t look like a land where oil has been explored in the past fifty years. Strange illnesses like cancer, blindness are at the highest ebb. The people keep dying, no impact assessment is conducted to know how their operations affect the people. Today, we are demanding that they shut this place.” Nwauwa stated.
Similarly, Ichie Chukwuemeka Nwaokpara, President General of Izombe Youths, said that they will shut down all activities of the Company until their demands are met.
However, Obilor Ifeanyi Daniel, Seplat Community Liason Officer, CLO, said that he is from Izombe and as company representative, he won’t allow the company with a high reputation to cheat the people.
He said that Seplat has a legal document binding them with the community for its operation. CLO said that they had a memorandum of understanding with the communities and that despite leadership issue that has lingered for a while, they are trying their best to carry everyone along.
According to him, “just to also inform you that two months that the rig has been here, the rig is not operational. They came here and what they were doing is maintenance. Rig is doing maintenance, they were not operational. We will give them the necessary slot that they would get. We are not in any way trying to shy away from our responsibilities of picking some people to work with us. We have been reaching the people.” (The Nation)
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