Social and economic activities were Tuesday disrupted at Ekpan, Ubeji, Jeddo towns, ever busy NPA expressway and environs by youths from ethnic nationalities in Delta state following a mass protest embarked on by the youths against subsidiaries of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over alleged gross marginalization and anti-labour practices.
The protest which started as early as 7:00am were led by leaders of youth bodies from Isoko, Ika, Ndokwa, Urhobo, Itsekiri and Ijaw, grounded official and economic activities at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), Product and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC) and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), demanding for what they called “our rights”.
The protest however caused a severe gridlock and preventing petrol tankers from accessing the Warri depot and others from gaining access into the NPA expressway and eleven neighbouring communities.
The youths numbering over 5,000 who had been protesting the alleged planned relocation of the NGMC from Warri to Abuja over a purported false security concern, condemned in string terms what they described “continuous casualization of indigenes of host communities by the NNPC.”
The aggrieved youths were armed with placards with inscriptions such “NNPC stop casualization of host communities’ workers”, “We are the goose that lay the golden egg”, “NNPC must respect the local content act”, “Ijaw youths council demands community slots from NNPC”, “Isoko youths demands community slot from NNPC”, “Ndokwa youths demand community slots from NNPC”, “Ika Youths demand community slots from NNPC”, “Itsekiri National Youths Council demands community slots from NNPC”, and host communities demand her fair share of slots in NNPC recruitment” among others.
In the same vein, Ugborodo community had last week protested and grounded operations of Chevron Nigeria Limited, (CNL) in Escravos over alleged gross marginalization.
Meanwhile, Delta state government had on Monday reacted to the alleged planned relocation of the Nigeria Gas Marketing Company limited (NGMC), head office and staff from Warri to Abuja.
In a statement signed by the State Commissioner, Ministry for Oil and Gas, Freeman Fregene, and obtained by our correspondent, said the consequences of such plans coming to reality was enormous and called on the federal government to stop the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru from given approval to the relocation plan.
“NGMC, is a Gas Marketing Subsidiary of NNPC. We have it from reliable sources of moves to relocate the operational headquarters of the company from Warri to Abuja. Although the NNPC management has denied it but it is becoming obvious by the day that they are hiding the truth. This is condemnable and we are appealing to proponents of the plan to stop for unity and progress of Nigeria.
“There is an internal memo from the MD NGMC requesting for approval for the relocation of the company head office and staff from Warri to Abuja. The painful aspect of it is that NNPC kept on denying it. However, the Delta State Government can not afford to fold its hands and allow the initiators of the evil plan succeed. The relocation plan is evil in all ramifications. Delta State is the source of the raw materials with all the attendants consequences of exploration and exploitation.”, Fregene lamented.