Protests Cripple Chevron Operations in Delta

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Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Operations at Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL)-managed Escravos Tank Farm have been paralysed since Tuesday as hundreds of indigenes of Ugborodo, an Itsekiri community in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, protest alleged marginalisation by the oil company.

The angry protesters, mostly youths and a few elderly ones, barricaded the entrances into and out of the tank farm, preventing workers from going in and out of the premises of the multinational oil company.

THISDAY gathered that the protesters were alleging neglect and discrimination in employment of their indigenes by Chevron Nigeria Limited.

It was gathered that the protesters, who set bonfires, occupied the company’s premises since Tuesday and remained there up till the time of filing this report on Wednesday.

Sources disclosed that tension pervaded the atmosphere at the site, forcing the company to airlift some workers out with helicopters.

Security agencies, it was learnt, were making frantic efforts to calm the protesters, who refused to leave the company until their demands were looked into, accusing the firm of playing hide and seek with them.

General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, CNL, Mr. Deji Haastrup, simply said: “We are engaging them.”

Youth President of the community, Mr. Ofe Nene, said the indigenes decided to protest against the company for breaching the Local Content Policy put in place by government to regulate its operations with host communities.

“The first thing is that there is supposed to be a New Town project in Ugborodo because of the enormous Chevron project in the area and impact on the people, but the company has decided to abandon the project because it believes the people do not know their rights and cannot speak.

“Also, it is about doing turnaround maintenance, TAM, but for about two months that we complained in a letter to them that they are not carrying us along, they have been deceiving us. We are in Ugborodo, but they will invite us to a meeting in Warri, when we get to Warri, they will either tell us that the date is not feasible or that so and so management official was not available,” he said.