Benikruku community in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State has urged Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL) to jettison the planned relocation of the Abiteye Field Security House Boat.
With a production capacity of 42,000 barrels of crude per day, Abiteye Security House Boat is located at the Abiteye Oil Field.
It has Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Ltd with 60 per cent and 40 per cent shares respectively.
The indigenes of the community, comprising leaders, elders, women and youths in their hundreds, stormed the gate of the Abiteye Oil Field in the early hours to register their displeasure over what they termed: “inhuman treatment, oppression and marginalization” of the people by CNL.
The placards bearing protesters amidst chants demanded a stop to all forms of environmental degradation of their communities
Inscription on the various placards read, “Chevron, recognize our welders and fitters. Chevron, stop the divide and rule system,” among others.
Leading the peaceful protest, Chairman and secretary general of Benekrukru community, Boan Solomon Eris and Comrade Kingsley Ukulu, while reading from a letter addressed to Mr Jeffrey Ewing, Managing Director of CNL, demanded among others , contracting labour and catering services to indigenes of the communities, request for urgent recruitment of qualified indigenes of the community by CNL.
The leaders added to their demands , contracts for crane and forklift, supply of in-house equipment, diesel and marine transport service
“The main drive for this protest is all about the movement of the house boat. The house boat is the only material that Chevron released to us to have income monthly.
“As we speak now, they are about to move the house boat away which will leave the community in hunger. So, we are saying that the house boat should remain,” Boan Eris pleaded.
Addressing journalists, Women leader of the community Madam Elizabeth Lagbo, warned that there’ll be no peace henceforth in the area should CNL refuse to give employment to their women and youths.
Representative of Abiteye, an extension of Benikrukru, Sculptor Austin Ojo, who said the people have taken their destiny in their hands, also implored CNL to heed the demands of the people to avert a shutdown of the facility.
Responding, a representative of the Abiteye Platform Supervisor, CNL, Mr Francis Obodo, who addressed the protesters, commended their peaceful disposition, and assured them he would pass their message across to the appropriate quarters.
“I thank you for this peaceful protest. I assure you that, Chevron is a socially responsible company. Whatever demands you have brought in this morning, I’m assuring you that I will communicate it to the appropriate quarters and in no time, you will hear from us,” he noted.