By Emma Amaize & Jimitota Onoyume
Ugborodo, host communities of Chevron/Excravos Tank Farm, in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, continued their protest yesterday, which started seven days ago, demanding better attention from the international oil company, Chevron Nigeria Limited, for the five communities of Ugborodo.
Similarly, an environmentalist activist, Mr. Sheriff Mulade, has also called Chevron to put out the fire on its wellhead at Opukeba Flow Station also in Warri North, saying the preventable fire outbreak had triggered apprehension among the people of Tsekelewo, Opuama and other communities.
Mulade told Vanguard on phone, “I am worried about the fire outbreak at Opuekeba Flow-station wellhead in Warri North, Chevron should save our environment by acting now for the safety of people in the host communities and their neighbours.
“As I speak to you, the people of Tsekelewo, Opuama communities and environs are in grave danger of losing their homes and environment to the avoidable fire outbreak from Chevron oil wellhead, which has degenerated into destructive and life-threatening incidents,” he said.
Meanwhile, during the protest, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Emami Ayiri, who spoke to Vanguard in Ugborodo pleaded with Chevron, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC and the Federal Government to take meaningful steps to redress challenges of underdevelopment and neglect of the oil-rich communities
He said: “The protest has been on for seven days now. The Ugborodo people have been protesting underdevelopment of the area.
“The issue of light, water, shore protection are part of the demands of the people. The community is being washed away by water from the Excravos River. They should also consider the graduates and youths in the area for employment.”
Chairman, Ugborodo Community Management Committee, Mr Austin Oboroegbewi, dismissed the Chevron GMoU as non-beneficial to the community, saying “the GMOU is not well thought out. 23 communities get N400 million and when it is shared among them, it is N14 million each. What can this do in Ugborodo in a year?
“Again there are so many companies working for Chevron; we want to also see their contribution to our community.”
Chief Tunde Okoturo, who took part in the protest, said: “I am in total support of what my people are doing. We think we have been taken for a ride for a long time.
“When there is development, the people will be peaceful. It is not right that they (Chevron) are enjoying light and water, we their landlords are not enjoying anything.
“The management of Chevron should do the needful for the development of the community.”
An opinion leader in the community, Mr Victor Omunu, said the oil company had been unfair to the area, noting that the communities had been neglected despite being a major source of oil resource.