Protesting women seize Chevron facility in Delta over basic needs
If Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan fails to heed to the call of aggrieved women of Ugborodo, an oil community in Delta State that produces 250, 000 barrels per day to the nation's economic growth for the past 45 years, then the Federal Government would be heading for an avoidable trouble. An open letter written to President Goddluck Jonathan on the issue, according to residents of the community is yet to receive attention. The protesting women of Ugborodo community are simply demanding for Shoreline protection to avoid the washing away of the community by Ocean surge and the provision of a step down of turbine to supply electricity to their community, and as host to Chevron , a major oil prospecting company that is exploring oil in that area. No fewer than 500 of the protesting women from Ugborodo, Warri South Local Government Area had on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 laid siege to Chevron Facility in Escravos Delta state in a bid to prod the state government and the multinational oil companies operating in the area to convey a meeting of the people to address the vexing issues. Ugborodo community is also host to the site of the $800m Escravos River Crossing Gas Pipeline Project (ERCGP).
One of the protesters, Mrs. Regina Atumu said that over 500 women and youths have resumed the protest in the Chevron Tank Farm located in the area. The protest had earlier been called-off some few weeks by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who had promised to convene a meeting of the protesting communities and the multinational oil firm but the meeting had since not be convened. For Madam Mercy Olowu, 'We have decided to leave our homes and remain here until the Federal Government and the Oil Company (Chevron) attend to our demand. We would soon move into the Chevron facility if government delays.
We have suffered enough. We can no longer bear this brunt especially when our demands are basic and justified. 'We cook our food here; we sleep here because they have simply refused to listen to us. This Government is wicked', she said in tears. Chairman of Ugborodo Community Trust Fund, Deacon Thomas Ereyetomi said that the resumption of the protest is to send a signal to the government that the proposed meeting should be held so as to address the issues of the total degradation and underdevelopment of the Ugborodo community. 'We would continue to disrupt their activities and die with the Federal Government until they answer us', they insisted.
Ereytomi said; 'we would no longer tolerate the act of neglect and abandonment because available records and statistics have shown that for more that 45 years since the emergence of the Okan oil field in 1963, Ugborodo had consistently produced above 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the nation's economic growth'.
Besides, 'lack of electricity and other infrastructures, our community is being threatened by the harsh oceanic waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the daily crude oil and gas operational economic activities of the oil companies'.
Their Legitimate Demand
The protesters are afraid of a possible extinction of the community because of the absence of shoreline protection facilities in the area and want the re-awarding of the shoreline protection and reclamation of Ode-Ugborodo contract to either Julius Berger or Westminister Dredging Company alleging that the contractor firm which earlier handled the contract demonstrated a retrogressive incompetence in the execution of the project. They also want the stepping down of turbine at Madangho and extension of electricity from Ode-Ugborodo to Constain in Warri South Council area. The people of Ogborodo said that the seemingly negligent attitude of Chevron is capable of endangering the safety of the Chevron Tank Farm, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Terminal, the Escravos Gas Plant Phases 1 and 11, the on-going twin project of the Escravos Gas Plant Phase 111 and the Escravos Gas to Liquid (EGTL) as well as other littoral wells and platforms located in the area.