Surveillance Workers Protest Against Oil Firm over Alleged Unfair Treatment

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Nearly a hundred surveillance workers have protested what they described as unfair treatment by Aiteo’s Eastern Exploration and Production Company, operators of the OML 29 oil facility in Bayelsa.

The facility is located in Opu-Nembe, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State at around the Odema Creek and Santa Babara flow stations.

Among other demands, the aggrieved workers said the company refused to pay them their outstanding salaries, even as they demanded a review of the current contractual agreement with the oil firm.

But responding to the barrage of accusations, the Acting Operational Supervisor, Mr. Umezurike Oyinbuchi,   assured the protesters that he would channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters, adding that a peaceful resolution of the matter was inevitable.

He urged the demonstrators to come to the roundtable in order to engage the leadership of the oil firm in peaceful talks, rather than engaging in protests.

Some of the protesters displayed various placards asking the company to “stop your divide and rule tactics in your host community’. Others read: “You promised to be better than Shell”,” community contractors need a fairer deal” among others.

Venting his displeasure, leader of the protesters, Nicholas Ebiye, said the company should come up with an upward review of the company’s contract value to be in line with the newly employed surveillance workers.
The group also demanded that the company should provide speedboats for free mobility as well as the provision of safety Protection Equipment.

They further asked for payment of bonuses at the end of every six months and arrears owed them since 2015 when Shell divested the facility to the company.

“We want Aiteo to make prompt payment of our monthly emoluments at the end of every month. We are also hereby giving Aiteo two weeks within which to comply to avoid untold breach of contractual relationship”, the aggrieved workers said.

Mr. Ebiye also expressed dismay over the company’s inability to keep to its avowed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) promises, stressing that the oil giant has refused to pay over N300 million it owes its host community, Opu-Nembe for hiring of the speedboats christened MV Ogbodo 1 and 2.