ChevronHundreds of indigenes of Kokodiagbene in Gbaramatu kingdom of Warri South West Local Counci of Delta State on Wednesday stormed the Otunana flow station operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to protest against the company’s refusal to give electricity to the oil-rich community.
The placard-carrying protesters, who came in three Cotonou boats, alleged that the American oil firm had reneged on its promise made 19 years ago, to provide the community with electricity as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and as obtained in host communities around its flow stations.
Some of the placards read: “14 days ultimatum to connect us with electricity as promised by CNL 19 years ago”, “Pay our land royalty now Chevron”, No light for Kokodiagbene, No oil for Chevron,” Don’t intimidate us with security, all we want is electricity,” and “Respect our peaceful disposition” among others.
The protesters sailed their boats around the flow station, being a riverine area, without any resistance from the security agents stationed at the oil facility.
Chairman of Kokodiagbene community, Sheriff Mulade, who led the protesters, told officials of the firm and security men at the station that the oil company had agreed to supply electricity to the community about 19 years ago, but no concrete efforts has been made to electrify the community despite several reminders and protest letters.
“For 49 years, Chevron has been operating here. We even protected their facilities during the 2003 Niger Delta crisis. They have been polluting our water and yet it cannot supply us with electricity”, he added, while saying it has given Chevron a 14-day ultimatum to give electricity to the community.
The Field Security Officer (FSO) of chevron at Otunana flow station, Mr. Musa Akun, commended the protesters for being peaceful in their agitation. He promised to convey their demands to the management.
In a related development, commercial activities were paralysed as Agbor residents took to the street protested against epileptic power supply by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The protest, organised by the Ika Landlords and Landladies Association brought the town to a standstill as they marched through the old Lagos-Asaba road to the BEDC office at Uromi Junction to hand over their protest letter to the company management. Business and commercial activities came to a halt while the protest lasted.
Chairman of the landlords’ association, Vincent Arimokwu, and Secretary, Prince Augustine Obaigbena, in a press release, said the protest became necessary as BEDC had refused to address issues of poor electricity supply, estimated bills and over billing of customers, among other issues earlier raised with them in a meeting.
The association noted that despite the stepdown transformer built to address the issue of poor electricity supply in Ika nation, residents had continued to experience their worst nightmare at the hand of BEDC.