By Ebi Perekeme
Youths of host communities of Chevron Nigeria in collaboration with Gbaramatu Youth Council (GYC) on Jan 9, 2020, said that the call for the removal of Mr. Jeffrey Ewing as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Chevron Nigeria Limited for alleged impending sack of 32 workers, racism and discrimination of Nigerian workers were mere blackmail and propaganda to achieve their ulterior motive and were not in the interest of the various Host Communities of Chevron.
In a press statement signed by Christopher Etuemi Wuruyai, President, Gbaramatu Youth Council (GYC); Comr. William Emuakpo, President, Youths of Chevron Host Communities of Nigeria; Hon. Izon-ebi Wuruyai, Secretary, Youths of Chevron Host Communities of Nigeria.
According to them, “We write to make the relevant authority and the general public know that PENGASSAN Chevron branch call for the removal of Mr. Jeffrey Ewing as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Chevron Nig. Ltd for alleged impending sack of 32 workers, racism and discrimination of Nigeria workers are mere blackmail and propaganda to achieve their ulterior motive and are not in the interest of we the various Host Communities of Chevron Nig. Ltd.
“Therefore this well-orchestrated plan to remove Mr. Jeffrey Ewing on the ground that he is a white man should be totally ignored by the relevant authorities.”
The group lamented that after all, Nigerians who were not from the Niger Delta had continually taken what belonged to the Niger Delta oil host communities and even the right to place their job-seeking populaces in Chevron Nigeria Limited through various anti-host community-policies.
They said that when Westerners were in charge of the oil multinational company (Chevron Nig. Ltd), they operated an open door host communities’ oriented policy in their various field of operation in the swamp; but today, the gear had been shifted, by driving the foreigners away from the various fields of operations. As a result, the group took the following stand in the said press release made available to GbaramatVoice.
1. Our non-Niger Delta Nigerian brothers from other regions of the country have consistently denied us, the host communities and our indigenes, our right of place in Chevron Nig. Ltd through various anti-host Communities policies. For instance, when the whites were in charge of the oil multinational company (Chevron Nig. Ltd), they used to operate an open-door host communities’ oriented policy in their various field of operation in the swamp; but today they have systematically driven all the foreigners away from the various fields of operations and now we the host communities are stocked in a situation that could be best described as the in-house operational policy that allow Chevron to operate on closed doors for which we the host communities no longer know what is happening inside the company that is operating in our various communities. And the real reason this anti-people policy have succeeded till now is because these our Nigerian brothers have succeeded in removing Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) department from their fields of operations in the swamp, so we the host communities, no longer have access to the company premises in our localities to create a good working relationship with the company. This, we are still battling to reinstate, for the benefit of all.
2. Our Host Communities indigenes that are working in Chevron Nig. Ltd. who have risen to senior staff level and are overdue to be promoted to the level of management staffs, are glass ceilinged and denied those top management staff positions by these our Nigerian countrymen, who are already in those management staffs positions. Rather, they (our Nigerian country men), have in various occasions promoted their kinsman to who in some cases, were even junior to our Niger Delta brothers in the company, to overtake them and occupy those management positions to replace their regional brothers when they eventually retire. This discriminatory system orchestrated by our own countrymen, we believe only foreigners like Jeffrey Ewing continued stay as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Chevron Nig. Ltd can balance for the host communities.
3. Some of our Niger Delta indigenes who had since successfully completed the Ogere training programme who were supposed to be absorbed into Chevron employment system have been unilaterally denied their employment opportunities and most of them had since been shortchanged with other Nigerians because our people are not in the decision making position in Chevron Nig. Ltd.
4. On contracts, this same our Nigerian countrymen have created a system called NIPEX as a body to pre-qualify and determine what level of contract indigenous companies should be awarded. This system has totally boxed out our local community contractors from accessing juicy contracts and have reduced them to miniature jobs and have permanently glass ceilinged them to those peanut jobs they call contracts, while their cohorts in the system smile home with all major contracts. The Chevron system that has reduced and is consistently reducing its host communities to a level of second to nothing interns of Contracts, employment and communities development can only be themed a sit on gun powder that will definitely explode in no distance time. This we say government and the relevant authorities should take serious note.
5. The various regional development councils formed by Chevron Nig. Ltd to interface with the host communities under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (G-MoU) as it regards executing the very minimal developmental projects as a way of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the host communities are poorly funded and are gradually becoming a toothless dog who only take directive from these same Nigerian people who occupy management positions in Chevron to the detriment of we the host communities, our indigenes and Niger Delta at large.
On the last line, most Oil Mining Lease (OML), which were previously operated by Shell petroleum Nig. Ltd. on its swamp operation in Delta State, have been leased to Nigerian indigenous companies and we know the story that follows, of course lack of capacity to operate on international best practices as it regards effective implementation of their corporate social responsibility (CSPs) and the strict adherence to the Nigeria Content Development Act. This was done by these very likes of PENGASSAN-Chevron branch with their ulterior motive of let’s push the whites out and take ownership motivated incessant call for the removal of foreign nationals from their position of management. And at the end, we the host communities, are the once to bear the brunt of their inability to operate on international best practices. These are some of the main causes of Youths restiveness in Niger Delta.
It is against this backdrop we call the relevant authorities, to as a matter of urgent public importance and national interest as it regards the continued smooth operations of Chevron Nig. Ltd in the Niger Delta swamp, to ignore PENGASSAN-Chevron Branch call for the removal of Mr. Jeffrey Ewing as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Chevron Nigeria Limited. And strongly advise them to negotiate their issues under his leadership. We, therefore, state categorically here that any attempt by PENGASSAN-Chevron branch to continue their call for Jeffrey Ewing removal will meet a stiff resistance from the host communities’ youths as we will not hesitate to mobilize and shutdown Chevron operations in the Delta Swamp to drive home our point.