Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Scores of residents of Nkpolu Oroworukwo Community in Port Harcourt, one of the host communities of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, staged a peaceful protest at the company’s operational headquarters on Tuesday.
The protesters demanded for the signing of Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) between the community and the company during the protest.
In a demand notice addressed to Managing Director of the multinational oil company read by Livingstone Wechie, Chairman, Nkpolu Oroworukwo Stakeholders Development Forum (NOSDF), who led the protest, the protesters accused Agip of neglecting the community in the areas of employment, contracts, scholarships, skills acquisition, infrastructure and social amenities.
The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions like: “NOAC we demand new MOU, GMOU now,” “Agip robs host Communities of developments” among others to the front of the gate of operational headquarters of Agip.
They also alleged that despite hosting to company’s operational headquarters in Nigeria for the past 50 years with high degree of qualified and skilled manpower of various categories, the company denies them employment.
“It is indeed sad that NAOC has consistently denied Nkpolu Oroworukwo Community its due rights and privileges as long as their operations are concerned in the areas of Employment, Contracts, Scholarships, Skills Acquisition, infrastructure and social amenities etc. It has rather chosen to align with some willing persons whom it compromises within the community to undermine the major economic and empowerment opportunities for our Community,” the protesters said.
They faulted the existing MOU of the company with the community. According to them, the MOU is not only skewed to the advantage of the company, but can best be regarded as retarded and dead.
“Regrettably, there are no identifiable projects in Nkpolu Oroworukwo credited to Agip ENI NAOC ranging from Roads, Hospitals, Scholarships, Employment, Empowerment Opportunities, Contracts opportunities, Schools, or even Boreholes Water or Community Town Halls/Civic Centre to say the least. We challenge NAOC to contest these facts.
“NAOC has refused to fully implement any of the skewed and dry MOU or upgrade or renew same in any manner that will genuinely expand and make lasting resourceful impact on the people of Nkpolu Oroworukwo in line with its Corporate Social Responsibilities.
“It has not captured Nkpolu Oroworukwo in any Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU). This by itself is betrayal of global best practice and a sabotage of both the Rivers State and Federal Government efforts towards peace and development in the Niger Delta region, Nkpolu Oroworukwo in particular,” the protesters said.
They are therefore demanding that there should an urgent stakeholders’ meeting between the company and the host community for a quick review of the MOU along the with a new GMOU where the community is well integrated.