Youths of Nkpolu Oroworukwo community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Monday barricaded the entrance of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Port Harcourt, demanding to be employed by the company. The youths in their numbers blocked the main gate of the company denying entry or exit of staff to the company premises.

The protesters said they are angered that the Italian company has over the years marginalized and denied them employment opportunities, among other privileges.

Leader of the protest, Livingstone Wechie, alleged that NAOC has consistently denied the community its due rights and privileges in the areas of employment, contracts, scholarships, skills acquisition, infrastructure and social amenities.

Wechie also demanded for a Global Memorandum of Understanding between the community and the oil multinational.

He regretted that there was no identifiable project in their community that could be credited to NAOC such as roads, hospitals, scholarships, employment, schools and water, as obtainable in other oil multinationals.

“NAOC has not captured Nkpolu Oroworukwo in any GMoU. This by itself is betrayal of global best practice and sabotage of the Rivers State Government and Federal Government efforts towards peace and development in the Niger Delta, Nkpolu Oroworukwo in particular.

“Regrettably, there are no identifiable projects in Nkpolu Oroworukwo credited to Agip, ENI or NAOC ranging from roads to hospitals, scholarships, employment, empowerment opportunities, contract opportunities, schools, or even boreholes or community town halls and civic centre to say the least. We challenge NAOC to contest these facts.

“It is also on record that NAOC appears to have as a rigid policy to deliberately shut Nkpolu Oroworukwo people out of their viable contract opportunities, empowerment and employment opportunities.

“This is with exception to some of its divide and rule agents, which it continues to patronise at the detriment of the community. As long as NAOC is concerned, the community can die and nothing will happen. This is condemnable and absolutely unacceptable.

“NAOC continues to treat Nkpolu Oroworukwo matters as a corporate policy of discrimination. They prefer to treat those communities that have violent dispositions.”

Also, the youth president, Ovunda Chukwu, accused the company of refusing to employ graduates from the community, adding that the only space kept for the host community were cleaners, messengers etc.

Chukwu expressed displeasure over the ill-treatment of the company towards graduates of the community, calling on the management of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company to employ the community youths for peace to reign.

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