The President of Ogulagha Kingdom Youth Council, Hon. Timiadi Justice Akuna has urged Chevron and government to avoid taking the peaceful nature of the Ogulagha, Egbema and Gbaramatu people for granted.
Akuna said this recently in a statement in Warri, adding that the company and authorities should rethink the idea of handling all the oil host communities in the proposed negotiations with Ugborodo Community.
According to Akuna, “As host communities, we have all suffered the same unjust treatment from Chevron Nigeria Limited, so there is no need isolating some host communities for progressive negotiations without involving others who suffer same treatment.
“Ogulagha Kingdom which hosts a large chunk of Chevron’s offshore installations and operations has been marginalized by Chevron since the inception of its operations in our kingdom, as we have been continuously deprived of employments and development, with the company citing one excuse or the other.”
He added that the continuous provision of an enabling environment for Chevron to go about their business uninterrupted by the Ogulagha people and other Ijaw kingdoms of Egbema and Gbaramtu has always been in the interest of peace and the economic sustainability of Nigeria.
Akuna maintained that this will be the very perfect avenue for the people of the three Ijaw Kingdoms to change their perceived bad narrative meted on them by Chevron on the table of negotiation.
He however thanked the people of Ugborodo Community for their resilience in staging a peaceful protest, by compelling government and Chevron to call for negotiations.
Akuna added that SPDC, NAOC and other oil giants that operate in Ogulagha kingdom at the expense of the wellbeing of their host – Ogulagha kingdom – should brace up for a replica of the Ugborodo type of protest.
Meanwhile, a frontline Niger Delta activist, human right crusader and community leader, Comrade Mulade Sheriff called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to urgently dissolve and restructure the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, into ethnic development agencies.
Comrade Mulade who made this call in a statement recently and alleged that DESOPADEC has drifted from the original purpose for which it was established, that is, to develop oil producing communities of the State.
He argued that the Commission now serves the political party in power and other interest groups to the detriment of the host communities.
Sheriff frowned at the sorry state of DESOPADEC, claiming it has metamorphosed from conceptual creation as a beacon of hope to being bridled with the antics of propaganda by politicians who enjoy and feed on the prowls of the agency.
He cited his finding which included that beneficiaries of the system were taking advantage of the administrative imbalance as well as misappropriation in the agency, borne out of unbridled and endemic corruption and political favouritism, for perpetrating their lucre.
Sheriff supposed that the current DESOPADEC has become an abracadabra, a kind of conduit pipe, monumental fraud tank, used by some unpatriotic State officials to rob oil producing communities of their much needed socio-economic development.
According to him, “Everyday, the people get poorer for it, while the operative of the agency smile around since they enrich themselves and their cronies with contracts while they place before our very eyes fake development schemes.”
The comrade hence called on Governor Okowa to urgently abolish the current structure, which to him, has been bedeviled by misappropriation, deception and secrecy, and adopt an ethnic development Commission, which correlation will be clearer and better embraced, where the people will feel the impact of the agency, with the communities choosing their respective credible and trusted ethnic representatives in a democratic process devoid of political manipulation.
“This is what democracy is all about, as it is a government of the people for the people and by the people,” he said.
Sheriff pointed out that the purpose of establishing DESOPADEC has been compromised, as the interventionist agency allegedly now serves parochial interests of only the party in power or political loyalists who are appointees of the Commission.
He claimed that the Board and Management of DESOPADEC has totally deviated from its original vision and mission by engaging in elephant projects to impress the people instead of building physical structures in the oil producing communities that need urgent development.