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By NBF News

THE Ijaw, under the auspices of Gbaramatu/Egbema Host Communities Welders and Fitters, Escravos, have vowed to cripple the operations of Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, over alleged failure of the company to convert Ijaw welders and fitters to permanent staff.

The group in a letter addressed to the Chairman/Managing Director of CNL, said unless their demands were met in the shortest possible time, they would shut down the operations of the CNL at Abiteye, Otunana, Makaraba, Dibi, Olero and Opukeba flow stations.

In the letter signed by its chairman, Mr George Timiyan, and two others, the people expressed dissatisfaction with the delay in converting Ijaw welders and fitters in the employment of CNL to permanent staff in EGTL.

They also complained that none of the host communities' contractors was retained in respect of the in-house welders and fitters.

Alleging that some contracting companies outside the host communities were being retained by the company, they said:  'We are not expressing tribal sentimental, but addressing injustice. We want an end to this neglect of Ijaw welders and fitters in fabrication jobs.'

'We are also aware that right now ED-OF Nig. Ltd. is embarking on a test to employ persons in the Escravos Tank Farm and the Ijaw welders and fitters or all other Ijaw persons have been excluded from this employment test.

'At present, none of the ijaw welders and fitters is included in the Chevron fabrication job presently handled by Gramem Nig. Ltd. We hold the view that the Escravos Tank Farm cannot stand on its own without the oil wells and flow stations from the Ijaw areas that are connected to it.

'It is therefore tantamount to injustice and oppression that we the Ijaws are excluded from any benefit that arises from the Escravos Tank Farm.'

We are saying for the umpteenth time that these issues of neglect and injustice be redressed right now for fair play and peace to strive.

'We make bold to say that if nothing is done now, we will have no option than to resort to any possible means to achieve justice which is our ultimate goal and we are warning that this is a matte of urgent attention likely to cause public disturbance, breach of peace and threat to Chevron operations in Abiteye, Otunana, Makaraba, Dibi, Alero and Opukeba flow stations.

'We, the entire Gbaramatu/Egbema Host Communities Welders and Fitters (Escravos and Environs), wish to quickly establish the fact that we have become worn out with the inordinate delay in effecting this conversion.

'We have begun to appreciate that this delay smacks of dishonesty and delay tactic adopted by some persons in the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited to wilfully perpetuate our sufferings as youths of the Niger Delta and make us appear more like second class citizen right in the heart of our land. This also remains unacceptable.'

Contacted on phone, a top official of CNL, who pleaded anonymity, described the allegations as untrue.

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