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Published On: Thu, Aug 8th, 2013

Delta: Urhobo Youths Lament Neglect by Oil Companies, Threatens to Shut Down Oil Facilities


By Oghenekevwe Laba
Urhobo youths youths in Delta State under the aegis of Udu Youth Council (UYC) has lamented neglect and marginalization by oil companies operating in Utorogun Gas Plant Phase 1 and 2 and the Abura Oil Field located in the vicinity of their community, just as they threatened to obstruct operation of the oil companies if their demands are not met.
Arising from well attended meeting of Stakeholders of the youths on Thursday, August 8th,2013, President of Udu Youth Council, Comrade Freeborn Ovwemejepha who expressed displeasure towards the activities of government and oil companies in the area said, ”We the Udu people will no longer tolerate the criminal neglect and exploitation meted on our people by these oil firms. We have decided to take our destiny in our hands. We have for too long kept quiet while these people reap us of our resources and our people end up suffering environmental degradation and abject poverty. Nothing to show for the resources explore from our land in term of development.
“While our youths roam the streets without jobs, people are brought from other states to work in our land without little consideration for the people of the locality who are capable and ready to work. Such practice is unjust and it is against the principles of the Local Content Act of the Federal Government.”
The youth President stated that although the youths had resolved to adopt all legitimate means to press home their demands, he, however, argued that in an event that their requests were not considered they would mobilize women, youths and the aged to Utorogun Gas Plant Phase 1 and 2 and the Abura Oil Field and remain there till their demands are met.
In the same vein, the Secretary of the UYC Comrade Jefia Dede declared that they would not succumb to any form of intimidation and harassment the government or oil companies would want to employ to counter them.
“Let it be made known today that we are prepared to resist any forces of intimidation and suppression that the government may want to adopt to dissuade or coerce us. We have decided to demand for our rightful place in the scheme of things in a civil manner and the government should respect that.”
It would be recalled that penultimate week, Udu Youths Council, the umbrella body for all Udu youths issued 14 days ultimatum to the oil companies to meet their demands. In the declaration, the youths expressed their anger on the backdrop of what they described as the criminal neglect, marginalisation and exploitation of the people of the area by oil companies. They issued the ultimatum on behalf of the Udu people whom they claimed are prepared to challenge the wholesome marginalisation. It remains seven days to the expiration of the ultimatum.
The youth equally frowned at the increasing rate of cultism and incidence of kidnapping in the once peaceful and hospitable Udu Kingdom. They associated the spate of crime to the high level of unemployment and neglect that the community is currently experiencing due to closure of Delta Steel Company. They call on the government to respond to their demands by engaging them in dialogue.

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