Youths kick against SNEPCO’s plan to leave Onne Port
Aggrieved youths in Rivers State have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) not to relocate from the state, as over 5,000 jobs would be lost.
The youths, under the aegis of Rivers Youth State Federation (RSYF), said SNEPCO’s decision to leave Onne for Lagos was unfavourable to the economic wellbeing of Rivers people.
The youths, who staged a protest at SNEPCO’s logistics base in Onne Port, and were led by the National President, RSYF, Saviour Patrick, appealed to President Buhari and Governor Nyesom-Wike to prevail on the company to reverse the decision.
In a letter he jointly endorsed with RSYF Secretary-General, Bishop Abhili Tam, they hinged their opposition on the fact that it would lead to significant job loss and render many Rivers youths idle.
“Our attention has been drawn to your recent plans to relocate to Lagos State from Onne Port, despite COVID-19 lockdown, without informing your host community in a clear term your reasons for the planned move,” they said.
The RSYF leaders recounted that in September 2018, they staged a similar protest alongside Onne Youth Council (OYC). They said when Shell launched the same bid, which was vehemently protested, it took the intervention of the Director of DSS Rivers State Command and HRM Ateke Michael Tom to avert a major show down.
They said: “We wish to refresh your memory that after the intervention by these two authorities, certain resolutions were made at the Conference Hall of the DSS Rivers State Command in the presence of your company representatives, DSS Director, NPA representatives, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) representatives, among others, where we suspended our protest.
“We wonder now why you are intentionally violating all the resolutions made during that meeting, which led us to halt our protest. Now, you are planning to move secretly.”
The youths who carried placards with such inscriptions as: “SNEPCO do you hate us this much?” Rivers State is more peaceful than Lagos. Why leave?” “SNEPCO, please don’t make life tougher for Rivers youths,” among others, said SNEPCO’s action was worrisome, inhuman and inconsiderate.
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