By Ochuko Etabunor,—–
People of Ovade-Oghara, Ethiope West local government area, Delta State; weekend paralyzed the operations of Pan- Ocean Oil Company over alleged sack of indigenes of the community who were staff of the company by its management.
The protesters who stormed the company premises as early as 7:00 am comprising women, elders, and youths with placards bearing different inscriptions, such as; “We want our children back to work,” “No communities workers, no Pan Ocean,” “Enough is Enough”, among others, asked the company relocate if they do not have the intentions any longer to retain their people in their pay roll.
The Community youth leader, Comrade Ejiro Efetobo, the eldest man in the community Pa. Amofeye Owoyen, and Chief Friday Eyengho who spoke to journalists during the protest said that the company management sacks their people at will and while leaving other staff each time there is a retrenchment exercise.
The community wondered, why it only indigenes that marked out for sack each time there is a need to do so, appealing that company should rescind their decision and call back their people back to work and also regularized those that are still casuals for peace to reign.
Chief Erakpowherin Godwin also alleged that Pan Ocean often reneged on agreement each time they held any meeting and never kept to any of their promises to the host community, explaining that if they are no longer comfortable with the decisions of the people, they should close down and go.
The quick intervention of the leader of the Operation Delta Safe in the area, however saved the situation after he pleaded with the protesters to go and that they should channel their grievances accordingly through written petition to the head of security and other relevant agencies before such protest could be allowed; while assuring them that he would convey their protest to the relevant quarters.
Meanwhile all efforts to speak with management of the company failed as the management where available to comment on the issue while the protest lasted.