Negotiations With Host Communities: Ignoring Gbaramatu Communities Is Dangerous, Kingdom Spokesman Tells Cheron, NNPC, Delta State Government
Says Ijaws Of Gbaramatu, Egbema Are Mostly Marginalized By Chevron
Commends Ugborodo Community For Peaceful Protest Against CNL, NNPC
The Spokesman (Fiyewei) of the great Gbamaratu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, High Chief Godspower Gbenekama(JP) says ignoring of Gbaramatu oil and gas host communities to Chevron Nigeria Limited by Chevron 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 of empowerment.
He adviced the oil giant, NNPC and Government not to be encouraging divide and rule tactics against host communities in their areas of operation as Ugborodo and Gbaramatu Kingdom occupy the same terrain in the Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta state and the same neglect in the hands of the company,NNPC and Government, he as well wondered why the Gbaramatu people should be neglected in the ongoing dialogue with their neighbours. He said Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom suffer the same fate as the Ugborodo people (if not more) as such should not be neglected in the ongoing discussions, urging government not to wait for protest or occupying of flow stations by host communities before they will listen to host communities in order not to make it a norm to achieve their aims and demands.
The great Gbaramatu Kingdom 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 Gbamaratu and Egbema are host communities to Chevron are in the same terrain therefore should not be neglected.
He pointed out that Gbaramatu people are not afraid of occupying flow stations if that is what the government want before they will attend to their demands which they have presented to Chevron severally even in the lagos office of Chevron and the Gbaramatu Kingdom Palace at Oporoza, without attention or call for dialogue.
He stated further that the PERE of the great Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro Gbaraun 11 has continually appealed to his subjects not to embark on protest, urging them to remain peaceful and wait for government and Chevron to call for round table dialogue which has never become a reality.
The great Gbaramatu spokesman posited further that Ijaws of Gbaramatu and Egbema Kingdom are mostly marginalized by Chevron especially in the area of employment, noting said their Itsekiri brothers are better off in that area than the Ijaws, stressing that Ijaws of Gbaramatu who play host to three major flowstations of CNL,(Abiteye flowstation, Makaraba flowstation and Utunana flowstation) do not have any top management staff in Chevron both in Lagos, Warri and Escravos terminal operations of CNL. He said the Ijaw people have every reason to protest because they are more at the receiving end of the CNL and NNPC injustice meted on the host communities.
In the are of development eg electricity,communities that are host to Chevron in Gbaramatu kingdom are never listened to. For instance, Kokodiagbene community which is the host to the utunana flowstation have been begging to be given power (electricity) 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 of operation”.
Chief Gbenekama commended Ugborodo communities for their dogged effort coming together to protest against injustice meted to hosts communities by Chevron.
The Kingdom spokesman also commended the newly elected Warri Federal House OF Reps member, Hon. (Chief) Thomas E for speaking out in defence of the host communities but advice him to ensure that he represents the interests of all members of his constituency both Ijaws and Itsekiris in the ongoing discussions.
According to him, “He should ensure that Ijaws are also 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 government must be proactive to it citizens cry, doing otherwise is an invitation to anarchy, he also appealed that a holistic approach be taken on the issues at stake,handling one section and waiting for the other community to protest before intervening,is an invitation to problems, “the Senator Okowa led administration should ensure that the right thing is done by including the Gbaramatu Ijaws in the on going parley to avert further occupation of oil installations by the Ijaw people who suffer the same faith with their Itsekiri brothers”. Gbenekama stated.
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