…Ogulagha Youths demand access to Forcados Terminal
Youths in Ogulagha community, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta Stat, have decried the huge levels of marginalizaton and deprivation meted on them by the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
Comrade Iyoroagba ThankGod, the youth president, who spoke with Daily Report Nigeria on Thursday, lamented heavily over being deprived of work,and access to the Forcados Terminal.
ThankGod stressed that the SPDC has kept the entrance gate to the Terminal locked since April 2020, citing the Coronavirus pandemic as a an excuse for its actions.
He highlighted that all indigenous workers from the community working with the SPDC were dropped following the advent of the pandemic, saying there is no single staff of the company from Ogulagha.
“The entrance gate to the Forcados Terminal has been locked since April 2020, and they keep telling us it is over the pandemic. Yet, the come out from the gate to buy foodstuffs, engage in recreational activities and even take our women back into the yard.
“Over 20 of our brothers were sacked from work over the pandemic. Shell promised to recall them when things subside, but nothing of that nature has been done by the company,” he lamented.
President Iyoroagbo further expressed frustration that the company only employ indigenes for menial jobs on contract basis, but even that has been deprived from them.
“We have almost become slaves in our own land. The SPDC has refused to give any of us good jobs or even on permanent basis. We have also been deprived of the menial jobs for almost two years.
The aggrieved youth president revealed that the community and SPDC have an existing agreement of a 60/40 employment ratio, but not even up to 5% of staff currently with the company are from Ogulagha.
Quizzed on the reaction of the SPDC to their plight, Iyoroagba said;
“We have written series of letters calling for the attention of the SPDC. We have engaged the community leadership as well as the tradition chiefs to rescue salvage the situation before now. All efforts have been treated with levity by Shell.
“We served them an ultimatum that elapsed on August 21. The community leadership beckoned on us to exercise patience as peace is the best approach. A meeting was for September 2 to that affect, but nothing came out of it as the company played deaf ears to our plight.
“This time, we are saying enough is enough. We are tired of all their gimmicks and divide and rule tactics,” he said.
On what their demands are, he said;
“We demand full access to the Forcados Terminal, just as it is the case with the Ogunu Terminal. We want all dropped workers called back and a full implementation of the 60/40 employment agreement.
“We have qualified people with education and skills. They should be employed by the Shell Petroleum Development Company on full-time basis and even as management staff,” he added.