Youths of Engenni Kingdom in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State have expressed their preparedness to carry out a peaceful protest against Shell Petroleum Development Commission, SPDC, and Nigeria Agip Oil Company.
According to them, the demonstration is to show their discontent on the alleged neglect by the multinational companies operating in Engenni.
The youths who spoke under the umbrella of ‘Engenni Concerned Youths’ with the harsh tag, ‘One Voice’ ‘Say Stop Treating Us Like Slaves’ described the state of internal and link roads in the community as terribly unbearable, adding that residents go through agony trying to use most roads in their various communities.
Further describing the condition of some of the roads as dead traps, needing urgent rehabilitation, they urged SPDC and Agip Oil company operating in the kingdom to give “scholarship to Engenni sons and daughters, employment opportunities, recognition of traditional stool, immediate increase and the release of the agreed money meant for Engenni cluster board, embark on human capital development of able bodied men and women, boys and girls as part of her cooperate social responsibility, review of the environmental impact assessment, EIA, of Adibawa oil field.
Affirming the protest, a youth leader in the kingdom and president of Ediro Youth Movement, Mr. Onem Johny Okenya, who spoke with TNN in an interview said, “it is very, very true, that protest is likely going to take place on Monday and the reason for the protest is the total neglect of the people of Engenni Kingdom by SPDC and Nigeria Agip Oil Company.
“Engenni is blessed with enormous natural resources, and there is nothing to show forthwith in terms of development, and we have written several letters in respect to that, trying to draw the attention of the various multi-national companies to look into the aspect of developing the area and also meeting up with their cooperate social responsibility as well as human capital development.
“In some other clan, things like this are happening, like the research I had some times ago, I discovered that SPDC even send some youths to abroad and external scholarships. The case of Engenni is different and I don’t know why we will be treated as such.
“We are being neglected in terms of employment, in terms of human capital development, youth empowerment, and in terms of development, infrastructural development. As it is, the road linking to Adibawa flow station has been eroded by this perennial flooding and that is the road, an access road to where this Adibawa flow station is. So, we think that these things should be addressed by SPDC.
“Another thing is the absence of GMOU, you know the last GMOU we saw was in 2006, and till date we haven’t seen any other GMOU, and you know, the way these companies operate is that every GMOU will be reviewed after five years and this GMOU in question has been there for almost ten years and we see that it is necessary for this GMOU to be reviewed and I think that is one of our demand.
“And also, the aspect of courtesy call and homages to the various chiefs, that aspect has also been neglected so these are some of the things that we are requesting.”