By Sylvester Idowu
Itsekiri ethnic nationality has kicked against alleged abandonment of the multi-billion dollars Gas Revolution Industrial Park project (GRIP)in Ogidigben located at Ugborodo in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The ethnic group is also set for a showdown with the federal government for its nonchalant attitude towards the promised deep seaport located in Escravos area in Warri by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration
Spokesman of Itsekiri Oil/Gas Producing communities, (MDIOGPC) Mr. Besidone Samuel at a press briefing at Ode Ugborodo (Excravos), Warri South -west Local Government Area, yesterday lamented the action of the government, adding that the federal government should also halt the ongoing bidding process for the 57 marginal fields until companies owned by Itsekiri sons and daughters were given right of first refusal on the fields in Itsekiri communities.
Mr. Samuel alleged that Itsekiri nation had been grossly marginalised in marginal field bid offers since oil was discovered in her communities 60 years ago, adding that if the government failed to halt the process Itsekiri would not hesitate to shut down all oil exploration activities across her communities
He further called on the federal government to direct the Ministries of Works, Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and international oil companies (IOCs) to carry out shore protection across Itsekiri riverine communities to protect the areas from rampaging ocean surge. The Itsekiri nation further urged the government to resume work on the abandoned Omadino-Excravos road “expected to connect the oil and gas-rich coastal communities in Warri South and Warri South-west Local Government “
“We the Itsekiri people continue to agonise the apparent aberration of the local content act as it affects direct employment opportunities into Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC and other IOCs, operating in our communities. These companies surreptitiously employ non-indigenes and fly them to work in Excravos and other Itsekiri offshore locations while eminently qualified graduates as well as technicians road the streets and continue to live at the mercy of their indigent and ageing parents.
“We must at this juncture strongly express our displeasure and total rejection of the recently announced 57 marginal fields offered by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR. We can no longer continue to sit down and watch non-indigenes being offered Oil Mining Licences in our homeland when we have capable Itsekiri sons and daughters whose firms are qualified but repeatedly denied such licenses by the structural bias of the DPR”, he added.
The Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami who spoke to newsmen at the sideline of the briefing said Itsekiri nation made the calls to end their marginalization, adding that the federal government and the IOCs should heed the appeals.