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PLWDs block Shell’s gates in Rivers, seek empowerment

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A group of physically challenged persons under the aegis of Great Minds Foundation of People Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) in the Niger Delta region have besieged Shell Development Petroleum Company’s (SPDC) main gate in Port Harcourt, restricting access to SPDC’s industrial and residential areas.

The protesters, who arrived the main access gates on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 vowed to remain at the shell facilities until their demands were met.

Led by one Amarachi Chinaka, they lamented neglect and injustice by the oil giant in spite of exploring oil resources in their domain.

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A statement issued by Shell’s Media Relations Manager, Bamidele Odugbesan, indicated that the group had presented a letter, dated January 15, 2021 to management of the company, demanding N567m for empowerment’ of its members.

“All pleas to vacate our access gates and embrace dialogue failed, as they presented another request for N20m as a condition for demobilising their members.

“We have shown the group evidence of the several programmes in support of people with special needs within the Niger Delta and the entire country. They form a key part of our social investment programmes for vulnerable groups in our communities,” the statement reads.

He explained that Shell believed in dialogue and advised the group to embrace non-disruptive approach in soliciting support, adding: “We are also asking the group to vacate our access gates and premises and desist from threatening and harassing our staff members.”

As at the time of filing this story, the protesters were still occupying the company’s gate armed with their mats and other necessary items.

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