Isoko women protest against neglect by oil firms
Woman in Oleh kingdom, Isoko South local government area of Delta State, have staged a peaceful protest against marginalization and neglect by oil companies operating in the area. The women, in their numbers, were at Olomoro/Oleh flow station, chanting songs and displaying placards with various inscriptions.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the women leaders, Mrs. Ewoma Ochewru, said oil companies in Oleh have over time refused to employ graduates who are indigenes of the area while continuously employing non-indigenes to the disadvantage of parents that sent their children to school. “It is painful to see oil companies operating daily with thousands of barrels of oil carried away from the area and the people continue to wallow in abject poverty,” she said.
She noted that while the women were on the peaceful protest, soldiers from the 222 battalion, Agbaro-Otor unit, brutalised them with four women sustaining various degrees of injury and the women leader, Chief (Mrs.) Igbevia Erube, forcefully thrown into their Hilux van and taken to an unknown destination.
According to Ewoma, the placards, chairs and canopy they brought were destroyed by the soldiers, who blocked the road leading to the gate of Heritage Energy Operational Limited, manager of OML30 oil block. Ewoma maintained that until the leader is returned, they will remain at the Olomoro/Oleh flow station premises, adding that information on the army brutality has been sent to HRM Anthony William O. Ovrawah Omogha 1, the Odiologbo of Oleh kingdom and Chief Obaro Ekokobe, chairman Oleh community development committee.
When visited, Chief Obaro confirmed the protest and condemned the army action on women protesting peacefully. He noted that since 2013, Oleh community had agreement with the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and government representatives, but none of the points of agreement reached were fulfilled by successive companies working in the area.
He said: “I heard the women are protesting because Heritage Energy Operational Limited that took over from NPDC since March 22, 2017 with promises of developing the area, is about handing over to another company not known to Oleh community, one A.A.P. Works, a non-governmental organization, without consultation with the host communities.”
As at the time of filing this report, contacts made to Heritage Energy Operational Limited were not reachable just as it was gathered that the women leader has been released by the soldiers.