Residents of communities in the oil-rich llaje council areas of Ondo state have protested against the alleged refusal of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to carry out any Corporate Social Responsibility CSR project in their communities.
The communities include Awoye, Molutehin, Gbadira, Jinrinwo, Ugbo, Mishe and Erona among others.
They, under the aegis of the Molutehin-Jinrinwo Development Trust in the Ilaje lamented that the agreement reached with the oil company to pay royalty to them had not been meet in the last 30 years.
The protesters, who stormed the oil company’s headquarters in Awoye community said “the company no longer enjoyed the backing of the community since it had failed to honour the agreement between them.
Armed with placards and chanting various solidarity songs to show their grievances, the protesters said their peaceful protest will continue until the company attend to their demands.
Some of the placards displayed by the communities read, “We deserve better condition, “Chevron should incorporate our trust, “Over 30yrs of operation, no employment, enough is enough.
“Our land, our heritage, “We need employment from Chevron, “It is our right to protest, “No water, electricity, schools in our land, “We have been marginalized for long among others.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Molutehin-Jinrinwo Development Trust, Kelly Nomiye said there was need for immediate plan for the development of the communities under Molutehin-Jinrinwo Development Trust.
Nomiye said these should include building of grade (A) roads and telecommunication networks, electricity potable water, modern river transportation, well equipped and staffed hospitals, establishment of standard school and sand filling and pilling in the communities.
In the letter of demands of collaboration of baales of Molutehin-Jinrinwo Development Trust, entitled; Community Request From Chevron Nigeria Limited which was written to the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA), Esimaje Brikinn’s, also, requested for the immediate Chevron regional office at Ode-Ugbo with tankfarm situated in Ugbo kingdom.
The letter of their request which was signed by their Chairman and Secretary, Chief Mese Ilemobayo and Chief Aworunse Kayode respectively demanded for the “employment of 5 persons from each of the nine communities every year as contract staff, provision of 2 speed boats with Yamaha 200HP engine for each of the nine communities.
“Joint stakeholders semi-annual assessment of status of community development which will include the community elders, youth, women group, representatives, company and the kingdom.
“All the baales should be paid monthly sum of N200,000 each, increment of scholarship both tertiary and secondary institution (in number and amount), setting up of skill acquisition centres for women and youth for self-reliance.
“Incorporation of Molutehin-Jinrinwo Development Trust, N30 million credit scheme for each of the nine communities to aid business development especially for the women among others.
Reacting, Chevron General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn however reiterated the company’s commitment to development of host communities.
Brikinn in a statement issued on the protest said that the company’s operations in Opuekeba, one of its oil fields were disrupted by the protesters.
He however said that “the company does not deal with pressure groups.
The statement reads in part,” Chevron Nigeria Limited channels of engagement with the Ilaje communities neighbouring its onshore areas of operations in Ondo State remains the Ilaje Rural Development Advocacy Committee Initiatives (“ILRDC”).
“Through the ILRDC, the NNPC/CNL JV has, through its corporate social responsibility initiatives, significantly contributed to the development of the constituent communities of the ILRDC through the GMoU process.
“The ILRDC has completed various projects in health, education and economic development initiatives and has continued to plan and execute new projects that improve the livelihood of members of the communities.
“Since inception in 2005, successive ILRDC leadership have s expended the fund provided by the NNPC/CNL JV for implementing various projects in the constituent communities.
” These projects include: a science laboratory, multipurpose halls, concrete and wooden foot bridges, housing projects, town halls, reverse osmosis water project, purchase of two speed boats for transportation, and provision of public toilets.
“The ILRDC has also awarded scholarships, conducted free medical health, acquired two (2) plots of land at Ugbo to construct the ILRDC secretariat and progressed the construction of a Mother and Child Health Care Center, in collaboration with Amalgamation of Ilaje Ugbo Coastal Communities Association at Ode Ugbo.
Brikinn added that ” Chevron reiterates its commitment, within available resources and opportunities, to continue working with its community stakeholders and other partners to maintain peace and contribute positively to sustainable socio-economic development, through its corporate social responsibility initiatives in the communities neighbouring its areas of operations.”