*Says Ijaws Of Gbaramatu, Egbema Are Mostly Marginalized By Chevron
*Commends Ugborodo Community For Peaceful Protest Against CNL, NNPC
By Phil Abha
The Spokesman (Fiyewei) of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, High Chief Godspower Gbenekama, says ignoring of Gbaramatu oil and gas host communities by Chevron Nigeria limited (CNL) in their present negotiations with their Ugborodo neighbours invites danger against CNL if not properly handled now.
Chief Gbenekama accused CNL and NNPC joint partners of using NAPIMS as an excuse for undoing host communities in the area o empowerment.
The spokesman quipped that whatever discussions Chevron and government wants to discuss with their Ugborodo neighbours, Ijaw communities hosting CNL operations should be carried along, adding that both Ijaws of Gbaramatu and Egbema are host communities to Chevron are in the same terrain and therefore should not be neglected.
He pointed out that Gbaramatu people are not afraid of occupying flow stations if that is what the government wants before they will attend to their demands which they have presented to Chevron severally even in Gbaramatu Kingdom Palace at Oporoza.
He stated further that the PERE of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro Gbaraun 11, has continually appealed to his subjects not to embark on protests, urging them to remain peaceful and wait for government and Chevron to call for a round table dialogue.
The spokesman posited that Ijaws of Gbaramatu and Egbema kingdoms are mostly marginalized by Chevron especially in the area of employment, noting that their Itsekiri brothers are better off in that area than the Ijaws.
He stressed that Ijaws of Gbaramatu who play host to three major flow stations of CNL (Abiteye, Makaraba and Utunana flow stations) do not have any top management staff in Chevron, in Lagos, Warri and Escravos terminal operations of CNL.
He said the Ijaw people have every reason to protest because they are more at a receiving end of the CNL and NNPC injustice meted on the host communities.
In the area of development such as electricity, communities that are host to Chevron in Gbaramatu kingdom are not listened to.
According to him, Kokodiagbene community which is the host to the Utunana flowstation have been begging to be given power supply but Chevron and NNPC have been paying deaf hears to them for over twenty years .
He also said, “Benikrukru community is submerged in water whenever there is high tide due to exploration activities by the oil giant yet it has paid deaf hears to the community for over thirty years now. Chevron does not have regard for the traditional institutions in their areas of operation as it had never met any of the demands of the kings in their areas of operation”.
Chief Gbenekama commended Ugborodo communities for their dogged effort by coming together to protest against injustice meted to hosts communities by Chevron, saying that Gbaramatu is solidly behind them in the protest and assured of supporting them in the struggle.
According to him Ijaws should also be invited to the table of discussion.
He thanked the Austin Obiregbeyi-led administration and Chief Ayirimi Emami who represented the palace for managing the protest in a peaceful manner and attracting the attention of government to the plight of the host Communities, saying Gbaramatu kingdom is solidly behind them in the protest and assured of supporting them in the struggle wherever and whenever the need arise.
He also commended the Delta state government for its intervention but advised that government should not wait until host communities occupy oil installations before intervening but rather be proactive to the cries of her citizens, saying that doing otherwise is an invitation to anarchy.
He also appealed for a holistic approach be taken on the issues at stake, as handling one section and waiting for the other community to protest before intervening is an invitation for problems.
“The Senator Okowa-led administration should ensure that the right thing is done by including the Gbaramatu Ijaws in the ongoing parley to avert further occupation of oil installations by the Ijaw people who suffer the same fate with their Itsekiri brothers,” Gbenekama stated.