PIA: ‘We’re Not Under Any Authority’ – Ugborodo Natives Tackle Chevron, Other IOCs
Natives of the Ugborodo Community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State assert that they are not subject to any authority with regard to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and demand that management of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) and other foreign oil and gas companies operating in their territory engage in dialogue with them regarding PIA implementation.
The demand was made by Mr. Daniel Uwawah, the Eghare-Aja of Ugborodo, on May 17 during a peaceful demonstration against Chevron Nigeria Limited at the Chevron Terminal Ugborodo.
The Igbajoh of Ugborodo, Prince Perry Atete, who spoke on behalf of the Eghare-Aja, claimed that they had written Chevron Nigeria Limited several letters urging the management of the company to engage in dialogue with them “in accordance with the PIA Act,” but that Chevron had refused.
The Eghare-Aja claimed that Chevron Nigeria Limited had also disregarded letters sent to them regarding employment and contract awards.
“We are faulting the PIA process. We are saying that the company should come directly and dialogue with the community.
“This they have not done. We are saying we are not going to accept it, until they come and deliberate with us, based on the issue as stated in the Act”, he emphasized.
He claimed that Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) had completely disregarded the PIA’s requirement that “all nominees/representatives to the Board, Management and Advisory Council, must emanate directly from the host community (in this case, Ugborodo)”, adding that CNL “should stop patronizing the former Exco of Ugborodo, led by Barr. Austin Oboroegbeyi.” They should always reach out to the Ugborodo Community Elders’ Council for any business that has to do with the Ugborodo Community.”
The protesters, who were from Ode-Ugborodo, Ogidigben, Ajudaibo, Madangho and Ijaghala Communities, under Ugborodo Federated Communities, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “We want our PIA as host communities in Ugborodo”, “All local content contracts must be brought to the community through the appointed organ”, “Enough of Chevron’s divide and rule policies”,
Other inscriptions include; “Ugborodo Community, demands frequent and regular engagement with Chevron”, “Chevron must fix the water and the light, before they can proceed with their operation”, “Chevron can you stop intimidating us?!”, “Chevron give us employment”, “We need light, Chevron”, “No good relationship with Chevron”, “Chevron must Go” and “Chevron you are a wicked company.”
Oritsematosan Nuko, a female leader in Ugborodo Community who confirmed the claims of the Eghare-Aja, made an appeal to Chevron and the Federal Government to come to the aid of Ugborodo Community and provide shore protection, claiming that local residents are being driven out of the community by tidal flood.
They refused to come, Nuko said, adding that Chevron is aware of their plight. There’s no work for our children. No employment, no business, no contracts. We are just managing ourselves.”
She predicted that, in accordance with PIA, their children would be gainfully employed if Chevron visited and engaged in conversation with the locals.
Wilson Ejeh, the national vice chairman of the Ugborodo community youth organization, and Victor Laju, who spoke in a similar vein, urged Chevron Nigeria Limited and other businesses doing business in Ugborodo to accede to their demands for enduring peace.