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EDO LINE WORKERS STAGE PROTEST

By NBF News
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Oshiomhole
Workers of Edo Line, a transport company owned by Edo State Government yesterday staged a protest calling for the removal of its management headed by Chief Amos Osunbor that was constituted in February this year.

During the protest the workers claimed that Osunbor presided over the demise of the once flourishing company when he was first appointed the chairman of the board in 1999 and that the activities of the board since he took over had also shown that he was not ready to revive the company contrary to the directive of the state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole that the board should restore the lost glory of the state transport outfit.

The Chairman of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreation Service Employers in the company, Segun Okosun, said the new board had embarked on indiscriminate transfer of workers, oppression of those they felt were vocal. The board was also accused of 'victimization of workers, refusal to release the promotion of workers already concluded but yet promoted somebody to become general manager and removed the General Manager appointed by government.'

Okosun also alleged that the board chairman who was supposed to be on part-time appointment had become full-time chairman allocating various sundry allowances to himself. He said Osunbor had also failed to implement the resolutions of a peace meeting held between the workers and the ministry of transport where it was agreed that 16 workers, suspended for various offences without trial, were to be recalled and those believed to have been transferred, as punitive measures, be recalled while those accused of various offences be made to face disciplinary committee.

When contacted on phone yesterday, the state commissioner for transport, Lucas Okojie said he was still attending the state's weekly executive council meeting and could not comment on the matter while efforts to reach Osunbor were unsuccessful as he did not pick any of the calls put across to his mobile line. 'I am in EXCO meeting now and I am not in a position to respond to that now,' the transport commissioner said.

However, when the deputy chief of staff to Governor Adams Oshiomhole met with the protesting workers to appeal to them to go back to work, they rebuffed him.

As at the time of filing this report, the workers were still milling around government house as they insisted that the governor who was presiding over the weekly executive council meeting must address them to get concrete commitment from government. Meanwhile, no fewer than 5,000 aggrieved members of Ugborodo community yesterday disrupted operations at the multi-billion naira Escravos/Warri gas pipeline project located at Nadangho in Warri South-West Council Area of Delta State.

The protesters drawn from the five communities namely Ode-Ugborodo, Ogidigben, Ajudaibo, Mandangho and Ijaghala vowed not to vacate the area until their demands were met. Addressing the press yesterday, Chairman of Ugborodo Community Trust, Deacon Thomas Ereyetomi, said they decided to protest and disrupt work at the gigantic plant to protest the Federal Government's failure to extend turbines to Madangho, where the project is located to supply electricity to the communities.

Emphasizing the key role being played by Ugborodo in sustaining the nation's economy, Ereyetomi said for over 45 years since the emergence of Okan Oil Field, Ugborodo had consistently produced above 250 barrels of crude oil per day to the nation's economic growth.

'Despite this enormous contribution, Ugborodo had been left perpetually in the dark without electricity and other infrastructures. Besides, the area is being threatened by the harsh oceanic waves from the Atlantic Ocean and the daily exploitation and exploration of oil companies,' lamented the community helmsman. He regretted that despite several representations to the Federal Government, nothing positive had happened but stressed that unless the swift intervention of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan which saved the situation when the women protested few months ago.

Ereyetomi debunk the notion that Governor Uduaghan was the mastermind of the protest rather he explained that it was the governor that saved the situation which would have degenerated to bloodshed.