Residents of Nkpolu Oroworukwo community in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State, who host the Nigeria Agip Oil Company’s corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt, have protested their neglect by the oil multinational.
The aggrieved indigenes staged a peaceful demonstration at the main gate of the company on Wednesday under the aegis of Nkpolu Oroworukwo Stakeholders Development Forum (NOSDF) and called on Agip to fulfill its corporate social responsibility to its host.
Chairman of NOSDF, Livingstone Wechie, who led the protest, said the IOC has consistently denied the community its due rights and privileges in the areas of employment, contracts, scholarships, skills acquisition, infrastructure and social amenities.
Wechie regretted that there was no identifiable project in their community that could be credited to the IOC such as roads, hospitals, scholarships, employment, schools and water.
He said: “NAOC has refused to fully implement any of the skewed and dried Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), upgrade or renew same in any manner that will genuinely expand and make lasting resourceful impact on the people of Nkpolu Oroworukwo in line with its Corporate Social Responsibilities.
“It has not captured Nkpolu Oroworukwo in any Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU). This by itself is betrayal of global best practice and sabotage of both the Rivers State and Federal Government efforts towards peace and development in the Niger Delta region, Nkpolu Oroworukwo in particular.
“Regrettably, there are no identifiable projects in Nkpolu Oroworukwo credited to Agip ENI NAOC ranging from roads, hospitals, scholarships, employment, empowerment lpportunities, contract opportunities, schools, or even boreholes or community town halls and civic centre to say the least. We challenge NAOC to contest these facts”.
The community further said the company had over the years denied them employment opportunities among other privileges.
“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 patronize 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 better those communities that have violent dispositions.
“Every effort we have employed to ensure that NAOC rethinks its attitude towards our Community has been flagrantly undermined by the Management of the company using their usual divide and rule tactics through some backend.
“NAOC should be made to do the needful by answering as well as compensating for its deliberate corporate negligence and injustice”.