By Ben Dunno, Warri
Indigenes of Kokodiagbene community, Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday raised the alarm over an alleged plot by American oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to instigate the arrest of some of its leaders over their persistence demands for electricity supply in the community.
They have therefore, appealed to the Delta state government to come to their rescue to avert the continued harassment and intimidation of their people by the multi national oil companies.
In a swift reaction, the Delta State Government has invited five leaders of the Kokodiagbene community to a meeting today, the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) over the matter.
It would be recalled that hundreds of indigenes of Kokodiagbene in Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West local Government area of Delta State had on February 1, 2017, stormed the Otunana flow station operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) protesting against the company’s refusal to supply electricity to the oil rich community and threatened to shut down operations of the Company at the expiration of a 14–day ultimatum
The placards carrying protesters, mostly youths and elderly men and women in about three Cotonou boats alleged that the American oil company had reneged on its promise, 19 years ago, to provide the community with electricity as is usually the practice in host communities around the flowstation.
But with the expiration of the ultimatum, the community, yesterday alleged that the company was planning to set up leaders of the community against security agents, especially the Joint Military Task Force (JTF).
Chairman of Kokodiagbene Community, Comrade Sheriff Mulade alleged in a press statement on Sunday that “Chevron Nigeria Limited is planning to set up leaders of kokodiagbene community against security agents especially JTF.”
But the community warned that; “We want to categorically state that no amount of connivance, intimidation, oppression and threats of arrest will allow us to succumb, give us our light, then you can operate peacefully. No light for kokodiagbene Community, no crude oil for Chevron”.
The Kokodiagbene Community lamented that; “It is unfortunate that government and security agents whose primary responsibilities are to provide social amenities and adequate security for her citizens have become tools in the hands of multi national oil companies in Nigeria for reasons best known to them. It is a pity”.
“We want to appeal strongly to the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to call the management of Chevron to order because instigating Nigeria security agents against us is not a solution, but connecting us to electricity is the solution”, the Community leader said in the press release.
According to him also “Chevron and government at all levels may succeed in intimidating and arresting us with security agents today but you will not succeed in closing the matter”.
Comrade Mulade disclosed that five members of the community have been invited by the Delta State Government for a meeting on Monday, February 20,2017 at 2 pm in the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), saying they were ready to honour the invitation and present their case against Chevron Nigeria.
At the time of filing this report yesterday afternoon, Chevron could not be reached for comment, but a source close to management of the Company who pleaded that his name should not be in print denied the allegation, saying the company was not planning to arrest leaders of the community.