Three Missing As Navy Allegedly Forcefully Disperse Protesters at Chevron’s EGTL Plant In Delta

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Three persons were feared missing, Thursday, following an alleged attempt by operatives of the Nigerian Navy to disperse protesters at the Escarvos Gas To Liquid (EGTL) plant operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) at Escarvos in Warri South West Local government Area of Delta State.
The protesters from Ugborodo, a riverine community that hosts the EGTL plant, had laid siege on the plant since Monday demanding, amongst others, the full implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to its fullest.

An Ugborodo community leader, Mr. Alex Eyengho, in a press statement, alleged that though the protests had been peaceful since it commenced but turned bloody in the early hours of yesterday when the naval personnel engaged the protesters and at the end three of the youth could not be accounted for.
According to Eyengho , “Three Ugborodo indigenes involved in the renewed protest against Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) over the perceived non-implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, (PIA) by the company, have been reported missing somewhere at the bottom of Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.      

“In the wee hours of today, Thursday November 23, the Ugborodo indigenes are missing due to alleged vicious attacks launched by the Commanding Officer ( C.O) in Chevron Nigeria Limited Tank Farm in Ugborodo Community ( Escravos) and his men” on the instruction of a PGPA Boss in Chevron Nigeria Limited as well as  other senior officials of the oil and gas major”.  

The protesting indigenes of the oil-rich Ugborodo community had occupied the Escravos Gas To Liquid (EGTL), tendering 41 demands before quitting the facility.
Some of the demands were that Chevron should, as a matter of urgency, implement the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), implement the Ikpere Host Community PIA as agreed by the National Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURPC) as well as give employment to youths and people of Ugborodo and Itsekiri indigenes.
But in a swift reaction, Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL) in a statement yesterday said it was committed to the operationalization of the HCDT in compliance with the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (“PIA”).

During the protest, the indigenes mounted a shrine with a fearful, ancestral effigy known as “Ogbejugbele” in the Chevron facility to depict that their ancestors aren’t only in support of their actions, but also angry.
The protesters, while frowning at the non-implementation of the PIA by blocking the entrance of the facility against the workers, warned Chevron not to take them and their ancestors for granted as they blocked the entrance into the facility.

The protesters, who chanted solidarity songs, also bore placards with inscriptions such as, “2019/2020 workforce are your family members,” “Chevron don’t intimidate us with security,” “Give us what rightfully belong to us,” “We can work,” “Put the Community First in all Employment.”
Others were: “Chevron implement Ikpere Host Community PIA as agreed by NURPC,” “Train the people on the job,” “Chevron Engage Community in the Ongoing Conversion,” “Chevron Gross Marginalisation Must Stop,” “Give us our Own Contract in the Turnaround Maintenance,” “Our community is not your Property,” and “Chevron Stop the Discrimination Against Ugborodo Host Community.”

The protesters insisted that said they would not leave Chevron’s facility until the federal government prevailed on the oil multinational to accede to their request.

A youth leader in Ugborodo community, Ukueyinden Ajuetsi said the community lacked basic amenities like potable drinking water and electricity, adding that there’s no job for youths.
A leader in the community, Joseph Ireyefoju, also said Chevron has failed to implement the PIA pointing out that the community is grossly under-developed.
He noted that there was ongoing maintenance work in the facility, but Chevron had brought workers from outside without considering indigenes of Ugborodo community.

Leader of the peaceful protest, Augustine Iyinbo, who addressed journalists, corroborated all the claims of the respondents, warning that the protesters would not leave the facility until the Federal Government intervened.
It will be recalled that in late August and early September 2023, after much protests by indigenes of Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun communities occupied Chevron Tank Farm and Shell-operated Otumara Flowstation in Warri South-West LGA over the PIA implementation saga.
The NUPRC officials had to intervene by paying a visit to the protesters after which they agreed to accede to their requests.

Meanwhile, Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL), operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and CNL (NNPCL/CNL JV), has confirmed that at about 7:00a.m on November 21, 2023, boats conveying some protesters started patrolling along CNL’s Terminal and Escravos Gas-To-Liquids (“EGTL”) jetties and subsequently blocked access to Escravos Terminal (including EGTL jetty) in CNL’s Western area of operations.

This was disclosed in a statement yesterday by the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr Esimaje Brikinn, who said the protesters, were “demanding for the renaming of the Warri Kingdom Onshore Host Community Development Trust (“HCDT”) and involvement in the nomination of additional persons for inclusion on the Board of Trustees (“BOT”) of the HCDT. In addition, they are requesting for mobilization of their community workers for the EGTL Turn Around Maintenance (“TAM”) activities.

Related Articles