Niger Delta Communities Tackle Oil Companies Over Gross Negligence

Niger Delta Youths have embarked on a mega protest to register their grievances over the alleged evil activities perpetrated by some of the Oil Companies in the area.

The Youths in their large numbers protested against the irregularities of the oil companies, particularly Sterling Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited commonly known as Sterling Global in the host communities.

The Company has despised the calls of the Five Oil Producing Local Governments Areas in Delta State to manage the damages occasioned by crude oil haulage.

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Protesting local government areas were Ekeremo, Burutu, Bomadi, Patani and Ndokwa East.

It was learned that youths under the aegis of Ndokwa East Ijaw Nation Movement has demand corporate social responsibility projects from Sterling Global Oil Company as host communities.

They listed the corporate responsibility to include cleaning of the water ways, payment of operational permits, marine tax and payment of tenement rates to the local government authorities.

Africa Investigative Magazine gathered that Sterling Oil Company operates Yade Barges and Vessels on the communities’ waterways which have affected their sources of livelihood.

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It was further gathered that the daily movement of crude to various part of the globe, and mechanical wastes from the barges or vessels spill on the waterways of the said areas.

The unpacified youths during the protest against the ill treatment melted out on them hired over 50 engine boats blocking five barges from leaving SEEPCO, insisting that their demands be met before operation continues.

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Ndokwa East Youth Leader who doubled as Public Relations Officer of Okpai Community, Comrade Sunday Okwuwa Ezechi thanked the youths for standing against the illegalities of the oil companies.

Sunday Ezechi lamented that Sterling Global started oil exploration in Okpai land and Aseomako since 2008 with no corporate project.

He noted that the companyl has over 300 proactive Oil Wells transporting crude to various part of the world at the detriment of Ndokwa people.

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He complained that the company has been operating in Ndokwa Nation without entering Memorandum of Understanding with the host communities.

The protest, however, led to the exposure of some of activities of the said company that violated the norms in operation of oil firms.

It was verified that the company lift seven barges of crude oil per day, against three barges recommended by regulators instructions.

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Another sad revelation was the underpayment of N100, 000 to Okpai indigents living in mud houses to relocate to far away bush, saying that they have purchased the lands from sources unknown to Ndokwa people.

In a letter dated February 16, 2022, addressed to the Managing Director, Sterling Exploration and Energy, Production Company Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, the protesters listed their demands to include:

1. JIV – Joint Investigative Visit – of the stretch of our waterways in the 5 LGA’s listed above where your barges operate to ascertain the level of pollution done by you for the purpose of payment of compensation to our communities;

2. Immediate cleanup of the waterways after the JIV above and restoration of the ecosystem to support fishing for our local communities which is their source of economic mainstay;

3. Corporate Social Responsibility Projects in our various coastal communities in the 5 LGA’s.

4. Payment of Tenement Rates to our Local Governments and other ancillary tax to be determined and levied by the councils as  prescribed by law;

5. Shore protection for our coastal communities which is in a deplorable state as a result of constant and daily movement of your vessels.

The letter further directed the Company to respond to the above demands within 14 days as failure to do so shall amount to self-help to press home their demands.

The aggrieved youths resorted to protest as the company described the Ndokwa East Ijaw Nation Movement as a faceless group, saying that the company does not acknowledge the local government areas listed above.

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