By; ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
Itsekiri Host Communities to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest over the sack of over 850 of its kinsmen at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC).
Leaders of the Itsekiri Host Communities led the protest with their youths.
They bore placards with inscriptions such as,”Warri Refinery is working. Stop the politics”, “NNPC respect the rule of law”, ” HOSTCOM demands conversion of his members@WRPC”,”DSPM demands reinstatement of his sacked workers” amongst others.
They demanded the immediate reinstatement of thwir kinsmen who were unjustly sacked by the WRPC from their duty posts with an improved working conditions at a press conference held at the Ubeji Town hall in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
In a communique signed by the Ubeji Community Trust Chairman, Engr. Erewa Clement, Prince Adolphus Tosanwumi, Ijala-Ikenren Community Trust Chairman, Engr. Billy Ekele, Aja-Etab Community Trust Chairman, Mr. Clifton Edema, Ifie-Kporo Community Trust Chairman and Ofoyeju Izuagia, Chairman, Itsekiri National Youth Council,INYC warned that the NNPC should be ready to stop all operations at the Nigerian Gas Company, NGC, Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company,WRPC and PPMC if it fails to heed to their demands.
“We are ready to take on the NNPC this time around and we will deploy all available forces within our reach.”
The communities noted that its indigenes have used as casual workers in very deplorable and inhuman conditions for over forty two years of the existence of the NNPC operations in their land.
According to the Communities,”Our people have systematically been schemedonut of gainful employment and prevented from holding any top management posts in the corporation.
“Rather, year after year, they keep employing our suitably qualified youths as as casual staff with vague promise that they would be upgraded to permanent staff of NNPC within the shortest possible time, which never materializes.
” We find it very appalling that today, even as we speak, after over 42years, we can’t name one of our sons or daughters working in any of these NNPC facilities around us. And yet, we as the host to facilities bear the brunt of the environmental impact of these sometimes deleterious activities.
“There us no gainsaying that NNPC has indeed been wicked to us and our people over the years, even up to recent times, when they carried out mass employment in the NNPC.
“They refused to consider our people yet, it has been these children of ours that continue to train all the previously recruited staff.
” We host communities have suffered in the hands of the NNPC. One is left to wonder what really is our benefit in hosting no fewer that 10 NNPC installations if our people cannot be given direct employment in NNPC.
“We are calling on the GMD to come clean on this, since his brother had told us that the new NNPC GMD never cared about the host communities.
“The Presidency&National Assembly should NNPC/WRPC responsible for any breakdown of law and order: We, the host communities to Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company are calling on the leadership of the National Assembly to mandate the NNPC management to reinstate our sacked kinsmen, all because they petitioned the Corporation to the green chamber for NNPC to regularize their job after spending over 15years as casual workers, carrying out major and strategic operational duties in Warri Refinery.
“Our sons and daughters have been(and still being) used as casual staff for over 42 years without consideration by NNPC to regularize them, which prompted us to join in taking the issue to the National Assembly.”
The host communities pointed out that the House Committee on Public Petitions at a hearing on February 6,2020 directed the NNPC management to regularize the working conditions of its kinsmen within two weeks and report back to the house.
The host communities however expressed surprise that the NNPC management went back and sacked all its kinsmen in a shameful show of utter disrespect to the institution of the National Assembly.
“We are calling on the chairman of the committee to stand clean on this and perform his duty as the actions of the NNPC management has causes great tension which sooner than later is capable of leading to major economic disruption in the region and the Nation at large.
“A petition has been lying before the committee on public petition for a year now and the NNPC management, who are close to the National Assembly has constantly refused to show before a constitutionally backed committee. On several occasions, the Communities with representatives of the Olu Palace have embarked on journeys to Abuja just to attend the hearings and yet the house did not deem it fit to sanction NNPC for their disrespect to the Committee.
” We are fully aware too, that WROC management is working with some security personnel to harass, intimidate and cause crisis in our Communities. We are therefore calling on Mr. President to prevail on the management of NNPC to do the needful , as we will no longer fold our arms and watch the enslavement of our people to continue.
“For the emphasis sake, the Presidency , the National Assembly and the general public must know who to hold responsible in the event of breakdown of law and order:NNPC Management.”