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BREAKING: Egbema youths suspend ultimatum, accept call for dialogue

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By Timi Black, WARRI

• Issues fresh 21-day to Warri North chairman to interface

•Threatens shutdown of oil facilities for non-implementation of demands

Following the swift intervention of the chairman of Warri North Local Government Area, Mr. Smart Asekutu, the Egbema Youths, under the auspices of Egbema Youth Council, EYC, have suspended the planned mass action against the Nigeria Petroleum Development company and Elcrest Nigeria Limited over what they described as marginalization of the Indigenous People of Egbema kingdom.

This was stated in a press conference held by the youth in Sapele, Sapele on Wednesday.

Congress recalled that the youths have issued 14 days ultimatum to NPDC and Elcrest Nigeria Limited over a perceived marginalization and deprivation on September 1.

The youths, through EYC president Comr. Ebidouwei Miyenpirigha and others disclosed that they decided to temporarily suspend the planned protest as being prevailed upon by key stakeholders of the Egbema kingdom.

Speaking, the youths said they are issuing another 21days to the Warri North chairman, Mr. Smart Asekutu to prevail on the NPDC and Elcrest to implement their demands but failure on the part of the chairman and the companies, they will proceed to shutdown all oil facilities in the kingdom without further notice.

According to the youths: “We acknowledged the concerned companies management’s responsiveness for human capacity building through the scholarship awarded to the host and impacted Communities in OML40 over the years.
However, we call for an upward review of the numbers and stipends for the award of the scholarship quota base, for secondary, undergraduates and by extension post graduates level.

“This become expedient for the high cost in our educational institutions and teaming schooling populace in our various Communities within your area of operations and for incorporation of more youths in human capacity building scheme and other relevant skills acquisition programmes in accordance with “article 2.1 sub-section B)” of the GMOU between NPDC/Elcrest Nigeria Limited Joint Venture and Host and impacted Communities in OML40.

The statement reads:” NPDC and Elcrest should build infrastructural projects in the host and impacted Communities in OML40 catchment areas with the 60% fund for capital projects as highlighted in article 6.1, such as Community water projects, Farm establishment, Blocks of Classroom and Teachers Quarters, Market, Palace of Traditional Rulers, etc, highlighted also in article 2.1 sub-section Ci, C:ii, C:iii, and C:iv” respectively in the operational GMOU.

The angry Youths added:” Community Development Board (CDB) and Community Representative Committee (CRC) should be constituted immediately in order to address proper and effective representation in our area and a credible representative in your firms for more accountability and transparency in accordance with “Article 2.1 sub-section (G and J) and Article 3.3″ as stated in the GMOU.

They however stated:” Allowances/Stipends should be given to the central youth body and all the cluster Communities youth leadership in accordance with “Article 2.1 sub-section S” for our administrative purposes. Moreover, homage should be paid to Egbema traditional institution appropriately.

“That employment opportunities should be created for our youths in NPDC as permanent and managerial staff at their head office in Benin and branch office at Warri as leverage to cushion the devastating effect of being idle and to make our Youths meaningfully engage.

“We assured them and their management of qualified and competent youths for job engagement in their operations sites. According to Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development act (LOCAL CONTENT), that 40% employment should be given to the host Communities.

“That, we make bold our statement having enjoyed the overwhelming supports of our teaming youths and the blessings of the Traditional Council Of Egbema Kingdom to demand for immediate implementation and payment of the three (3) percent welfare fund to our traditional ruler as stipulated in article 6.1 of the Global Memorandum of understanding between NPDC/Elcrest Nigeria Limited Joint Venture and the host Communities in OML40.

“It is also our demands including approval of cluster Communities and among other things that an urgent review and rejig for the pipeline surveillance contract that had solitarily been awarded to Ocean Marine Solutions Limited without youths inclusion as stakeholders who are familiar with the nooks and crannies of the creeks where oil installations/facilities situate.

“OML40 is a fundamental error in Egbema kingdom with or no meaningful employment record. Therefore, we use this medium to call on your managements to have a rethink by including our able-bodied Youths at the local base for an effective and a collaborative security work force.

“Lastly, the GMOU or MOU in their custody should be implemented without any further delay and the Communities want to see the environmental impacts assessment report and the mitigation measure to meet the shortcoming effects of the flowstation in Opuama and Polobubo Communities.

“Whilst we pledge our maximum support for smooth operation of NPDC/Elcrest Nigeria Limited Joint Venture in our terrain, we do anticipate their swift attention to our demands highlighted above”.

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