For allegedly failing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with its host community, Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, SEEPCO/Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Limited, have incurred the wrath of the people of Ogbeani community, Delta state.
This followed a massive protest by members of the community including the old and young who laid siege to the company’s premises as early as 9 am barring all forms of movement to and from the company.
Addressing journalists on Monday, one of the protesters, Architect Samuel Enebeli, stated that the company has failed to sign an MoU with the community since they commenced operations.
He noted that the community embarked on the peaceful protest to let the world know about the activities of the company.
Enebeli added that the protesters will not stop the protest until their demands are met.
Also, Mr Festus Obodeh, disclosed that the agitation by the community for fair treatment by the company had attracted the intervention of the Delta State government, observing that the company was not respecting government and the host community.
He emphasized that it was wrong for the community to be operating without a Community Liaison Officer or reaching an understanding with their host.
High Chief Peter Udome who also spoke with newsmen at the premises of the company, decried situation where the company has engaged more than 5,000 Indians and more than 200 non-indigenes with nobody employed from the host community, Ogbeani.
A youth leader in the community, Mr. Lucky Aninwe, noted that the protest was long overdue as the company took the community for granted.
He said, “we have always wanted to protest against the company but, the elders have refrained us, seeking peaceful means of resolving issues, and it is good that today, we have come out to let them know that things should be done right.
“They cannot just ignore the host community endlessly even with the intervention of the state government; we are not ending this protest until our demands are met.”
The community is demanding that there must be a singed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), that the company should employ youths of the community, pay some token to the community for every truck they move from the company, have a Community Liaison Officer, meet with its Corporate Social Responsibilities, among others.
Some of the messages on the placards read, “We need immediate signing of MoU,” “We Need To See The C.E.O,” “Give Us Job.” SANDEEP, Stop Frustrating Ogbeani,” among others.