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Over 500 youths protest plot to make them jobless

Over 500 youths of communities under Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30 on Friday stormed the secretariat of the Ughelli North Council and the palace of the Ovie of Ughelli, HRM Wilson Ojakovo, to protest purported plot to rid them of their jobs.

The youths who are under the employ of the OML 30 surveillance contractor, Mr. Morris Idiovwa, warned that any move to clamp down their means of livelihood will be strongly resisted.

It will be noted that a group, led by Richard Irorobedje, had in a protest, reportedly, accused the contractor of siphoning money and having nobody in his employ.

Explaining the issues at stake, the spokesperson of the protest, Chief Samuel Oghotomo said that since June last year, there has been relative peace in communities host to the oil block due to the engagement of youths in the surveillance of oil facilities in the area.

While noting that the surveillance job is not an “entire Isoko or Urhobo business” and that it is different from the Cluster Development Board (CDB), which Idiovwa heads, he said it is an affair of only communities under the OML 30 and advised the “dissident group” to go negotiate with companies operating in their domain.

Calling on the federal and state governments, the managing director of Heritage Limited, security agencies and other relevant authorities to intervene, Oghotomo emphasized that that more than 500 jobs have been created for youths, who otherwise may have taken to other unlawful sources of income, including pipeline vandalism.

“As at the time we took over the surveillance job, the oil production was at zero level. But when we took over and ensured the equipments are protected, production increased.

“We are calling on the federal government, state government and every authority to call those dissident groups to order and to stop sponsoring violence in our OML block.

“Any attempt to take the Jo that belong to us, where we are benefitting from, will cause crisis in the land. We will vent our anger on the pipelines. What nobody could do, Morris Idiovwa has done it by taking over 500 youths of the street,” Oghotomo stated.

In their numbers, the youths who defied rain torrents, trooped to the council secretariat, the palace of the Ovie of Ughelli and the Army 222 Battalion base in Agbarha-Otor bearing placards which spelt the reasons for their protest.

Chairman of the council, Hon. Godwin Adode, in response to the protesters said he will relay their complaints to higher authorities, enjoining them to remain peaceful.

He however stressed the need for honesty, stating that some persons who claim not to be beneficiaries of the surveillance contract were among them.

The Ovie of Ughelli, His Royal Majesty, Wilson Ojakovo, Oharisi III, in similar response confirmed that a group led by Osegu was at the palace recently.

Nevertheless, he gave the assurance that their agitations  would be relayed to his colleagues and other relevant  personnel.
Over 500 youths protest plot to make them jobless Reviewed by Akande Boluwatife on July 20, 2018 Rating: 5

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