‘Prevail On NNPCL, Chevron to Give Itsekiris Employment, Contract Considerations’

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Representative of the Olu of Warri Palace Liaison to Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Collins Oritsetimeyin Edema has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prevail on the management of the government owned oil firm and its joint partners to give special consideration to Itsekiri in terms of employment and contracts.

 Edema, at a press conference held in Warri yesterday, lamented the marginalisation of Itsekiris, host to several oil companies, on employment, contracts and warned that the ethnic group would no longer fold their arms while others are benefiting from their God given natural resources.

Tabling a nine-point demands, the Olu of Warri representative urged the president to direct NNPCL led by the Group Chief Executive Officer,  Malam Mele Kyari, to give special considerations to the Itsekiri people in terms of employment, even beyond what is captured in the Nigerian Oil, and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010, both in the NNPCL.its subsidiaries like NUPRC, NAPIMS, NMDPRA, NGIC, NGMC, NNPC E & P, WRPC and JV partners operating in Itsekiri homeland.

 “This has become necessary because as at today, the Itsekiri graduates have the lowest employability rate compared to other ethnic groups in Nigeria, despite being amongst the best,” he lamented.

 Edema also called on the president, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, to issue an executive order to NNPCL and JV partners concerning employment of indigenes of Host Communities by specifying a particular percentage, 60 percent, be given by the “project promoter” to those whose areas the “project” is located.

 “We wish to call on president to call the MD of Chevron Nigeria Limited to order, especially concerning the recent bogus service contract employment currently brewing unrest within their area of operations, and for recruitment concerning ‘project aurora’ so as to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

 “We call on the President Tinubu to order the immediate relocation of the Operational Headquarters of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to Warri or Escravos. This will help to boost host community confidence in the operations of CNL and deepen peaceful existence between the company and her host communities”, he said.

 The Olu of Warri representative to NNPCL also wants President Tinubu to give special consideration to Itsekiri oil bearing communities in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects especially in the provision of health care, portable drinking water and electricity as well as declare a ‘state of emergency’ in Itsekiri oil producing communities ‘like Ugborodo, Orere, Ogheye, Ekekporo whose lands have been swept under the ocean due to recurrent sea surge and begin shoreline protection projects to forestall indigenes of the communities being swept into the sea.

 He further called on the president to direct the NNPCL to address the lopsidedness associated with contract awards in projects being executed in Itsekiri homeland by the NNPCL, its subsidiaries, and JV partners as seen with the recent renewal of the pipeline surveillance contract where the Itsekiri Nation has been shortchanged. .

 “The NNPCL has continuously disregarded the local content act as it relates to awarding contracts to Itsekiri owned businesses in our homeland. We wish to call on President Tinubu to also direct the NNPCL to give Itsekiri owned businesses ‘special priority in the award and allocation of Oil Mining Licences in the next opportunity.

 “This will believe will go a long way in making us have a sense of belonging in the oil wealth God almighty has graciously deposited in our homeland. We believe that our God given wealth is not a curse but a blessing and as such refused to accept the current status quo where the Itsekiri Nation is being punished by the NNPCL for being peaceful and law abiding,” he added.

 Edema recalled that between 2006 and now, no Itsekiri was considered for employment either as management staff or ordinary staff despite the ethnic peaceful disposition the Federal Government and private oil firms operating in their areas.

 He warned that their peaceful approach should not the taken for weakness, noting that the Itsekiris should not be pushed to working against the economic interest of the country.

 The President of National Association of Itsekiri Graduates (NAIG) Comrade Ben Eburajolo, vowed that they will ensure Chevron Nigeria Limited complies with the 60 per cent employment quota for Itsekiri in its ongoing alleged secret employment of 300 direct staff, just as the Assistant Coordinator of Itsekiri Environmental Protection Initiative, Ofogharenor Tanro Maris, assured that they will sustain the struggle to save Itsekiri Riverine communities from the apparent threat of ocean surge.

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