By Ebi Perekeme
Again, Gbaramatu Youth Council, GYC, in Delta State, has threatened to shut down completely the activities of Chevron Nigeria Limited, in its oil-rich environment if the management fails to conduct Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) in few days in line with the earlier agreement with the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oboro-Gbaraun II, over oil spill from the company’s facilities.
In a statement jointly signed on Friday April 9, 2021 by Comrade Shadrach Onitsha Ebikeme, its President and Comrade Ebike Joel Asoh, its Secretary, Gbaramatu Youth Council (GYC) Worldwide, has warned the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to ensure that it gets a tough backlash from the youths.
GYC said it was ready to close down the operations of the multinational oil company in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of the state if the company fail to comply with their demands.
Full text of the statement read: “The Gbaramatu Youth Council write to reiterate our position on the oil spillage in Gbaramatu Kingdom on CNL’s 16 inch Makaraba Otunana Abiteye Truck Line and to address some of the critical issues that are obviously slowing the pace of bringing about environmental justice to the good Ijaw people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, whose means of livelihood has been destroyed and are currently suffering from different degree of hardship amounting from the large quantum of crude oil spillage in the area.
“While we agree that there are impacted neighboring kingdoms affected by the oil spill as a result of the flow of the river which is natural, we make bold to uphold that the JIV should be done involving only Gbaramatu Kingdom due to the fact that the spillage point is in Gbaramatu territory, as such, involving other ethnic group in such defining investigation will only amount to undermine the territorial integrity of the Gbaramatu Kingdom. It is for this salient reason, the Traditional Council, through its Fiyewei, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, the Gbaramatu Chairmen Forum and the GYC have strongly reiterated this position at every given opportunity.
“And we the youths with a clear knowledge and understanding of the implication of such barbaric act are firm to ensure that the above position is followed up to the latter in the entire process of the JIV.
“We also use this medium to also reemphasize and strongly advise the oil bearing communities’ leadership in Gbaramatu Kingdom to restrain from any of such kind of pally with neighboring kingdom(s) to undermine the position of the Gbaramatu Traditional Council which is in fact the position of the entire people of the kingdom to halt such attempt forthwith as anyone or group of persons found wanting in betraying the position of the Traditional Council shall fall under full wrath of the youths, and such person or group of people shall be treated as betrayers and as common criminals.
“We are also aware that there are certain characters within the top management rank of Chevron Nigeria Limited that are fueling their ethnic agenda and are up against the Gbaramatu position which is likely to cause conflict. Let it be known that the last Warri crisis between the Ijaws and the Itsekiris is quite fresh in mind and is not a befitting scenario to taste a repeat. It is on this note that we the youths of Gbaramatu Kingdom under the aegis of the GYC call on the Federal Government, the Delta State Government and CNL to call Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager of Policy, Government and Public Affairs—PGPA to order.”
Going forward: The youths stated: “Concrete hint has it that Brikinn is using his influential position in CNL to ensure that his tribe men are involved in the JIV and he is the sponsors of the petition against the Gbaramatu people that is currently at the table of the Delta state government. Therefore, we want the general public and all relevant authorities to note and hold responsible Mr Brikinn for whatever outcome his selfish actions amountqs to in the coming days.
“It is sad that days after CNL, Delta State Government and other relevant stakeholders appealed to our father His Royal Majesty, Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, The Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom to speak to his people to evacuate the Abiteye, Otunana, Makaraba CNL platforms that they have since occupied in protest to ask CNL to take responsibility for the naturally caused spill on a 16 inch pipeline that has been laid by Chevron since 1974 in order to allow CNL to swiftly conduct the JIV as promised.
“However, while our father, the Pere, who is an ambassador of good peace with regards and respect for constituted authority, did asked his people to leave and they have since done so in obedience to his directive, Chevron is seemingly trying to ridicule his efforts by refusing to timely conduct the JIV and this act of disrespect will certainly get tough backlash from the youths if the JIV is not conducted in few days. Few hours from now, after due consultation with relevant stakeholders, we shall cause a total shutdown of Chevron operation in the waterways which includes the shutting down of North IP Line.
“The Nigerian Federal Government, the Delta State Government and the general public should note that CNL is deliberately delaying the JIV because in its usual character, some of its top management staffs are making effort to contract hungry local youths to sabotage and tamper with the pipeline, in order to distort the evidence of its natural cause thereby depriving the Gbaramatu people from getting the environmental justice they deserve. While this development is highly unfortunate, we make bold to say that any of such occurrence will bring about regrettable result as we are kin in pursuing this case to the latter and get justice for our people.”