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Oil Community Petitions Total Over Sacked Indigenes

Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt

The Umu-Imegi Kindred of Ogbobu in Egi clan Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State has petitioned the management of Total/Elf over the sacking of one of its indigenes by the company.
In a petition to the Deputy Managing Director of Total E and P by Umu-Imegi Kindred of Ogbogu town, a community in Egi clan dated June 16, 2015, the community called upon the company to reinstate one, Mr Happy Isaac Jacob and pay him all his entitlements.

According to the petitioners, Mr Happy Isaac was on night duty on the day of a peaceful protest by some indigenes of the host communities who were contract staff of the company and was therefore not on his duty post or anywhere near the company during the protest.

“We hope that the company will give these matters the attention they deserve and possibly do further investigations on the involvement of our son, Happy Isaac in that peaceful protest, said the petition which was signed by the Royal father of Imeagi, HRH, Eze AjumokeChukwu, the community Secretary, Mr Loveday Zachariah and two other community leaders.

The community also demanded the employment of at least 20 sons and daughters of Umu-Imeagi family by the company as a way of reducing criminality in the community.

Sources from the company and community insisted that Happy Isaac Jacob who worked in the activation section as a production operator was not on duty on the day of the protest.
Some of the workers, who claimed they were wrongly relieved of their jobs, disclosed that there had been series of efforts aimed at prevailing on Total E and P to rescind the decision and reinstate the sacked Egi workers but Total has remained adamant; and also refused to pay off the sacked workers.

According to the sacked workers, the least paid among them is expected to receive at least N27m as pay off.

They stated that “A long line of correspondences pleading for a review of your company’s sack decision from the Egi People’s Assembly, Egi Indigenous Contract Staff Workers(Landlords), Total E and P Nig Ltd, the Umu-Imegi Kindred; the Egi Youths Federation and two letters from paramount ruler of Ogba land, Eze Dr K.E Elenwa were all ignored and treated with extreme disrespect and outright disregard by your company” said the Niger Delta Youths in another petition.

The youths observed that the sacking of the workers has generated tension in the area and has contributed to youth violence which has become the order of the day in Egi land and its environ.

“It is grossly inhuman for your company to continue to deny these persons their entitlements. A list that enumerates what each of these disengaged workers is entitled to in terms of disengagement benefits have been submitted to the company since June 2014”.said the youths.

They further disclosed that they have already issued a final warning to the company, and would frustrate the operations of the company without any other warning

Our correspondent gathered that the people of Egi clan in Ogba/Ndoni/Egbema may have resolved to make Egi land non-conducive for the French oil multinational, Total E and P to operate on.

It was gathered that the resolution was taken as a last resort following the refusal and failure of the oil multi national to either reinstate the 47 sons of Egi clan whose appointments were wrongfully terminated since 2014, or they pay their terminal benefits.

“Total has pushed us to the wall and we are set to fight back”, said community sources.

The sources disclosed that they will soon begin a process that would lead to the shutting down of the companies operations in Egi land in order to force Total to either pack out of Egi or respect the legitimate demand of the people with respect to the wrongful sacking of Egi workers from the company.

They continued that they had already told security operatives in the state to hold Total responsible for any breakdown of law and order, and accused the company of deliberately trying to plunge the area into crises.

It will be recalled that Orashi youths, under the umbrella of Niger Delta Youth Movement (Orashi region) had earlier, through their Counsel, Messrs Ken O Atsuwete and Co. issued an ultimatum to the company demanding immediate payment of entitlements and remunerations to the 47 indigenous contract staff sacked by Total in July 2014.

The youths warned that failure to respect their demands would attract the wrath of the youths.

They recalled that in July 2014, 47 contract staff working for Total E and P were sacked by the Multi-national oil company for embarking on a peaceful protest calling on the company to convert them to regular staff having worked for many years as contract staff.

The protesting workers had faulted the treatments meted out to them as unjust and a calculated attempt to remove all Egi people from the company, and insisted that some of the workers sacked did not participate in the peaceful protest.

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