By Ndu Samuel, Asaba
Oil companies operating in the Forcados Terminal in Ogulagha Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State have been told to stop all forms of marginalization of host community contractors and staff under their employment
Senior Special Assistant to the Delta State governor on Political matters Amb. Francis Boumiebi (JP) on Thursday handed down the caution while berating the oil companies for using the covid-19 pandemic as excuse for not paying indigenous staff and also denying them access into work premises.
Boumiebi who is a leader and critical stakeholder in Ogulagha kingdom, Delta State and Niger Delta region noted that it was very unfair for the companies to deny host community workers access to and fro their place of legitimate business.
The SSA ordered Shell and other companies to pay the workers all outstanding salaries and allowances without further delay and allow them access to their place of work.
He frowned at a situation where staffs from other part of Nigeria and beyond are allowed access to work whereas their host community counterparts are treated differently.
He noted that , “companies like Hopic Nigeria limited, Baywood Intercontinental limited and other companies had shut their door against indigenous contractors and workers most especially in this covid-19 pandemic.
“Workers are been denied to work and also after telling majority of them to stay at home that they will be paid all their entitlements such as salaries/ other benefits during the covid 19 period since from April, 2020 till date have not been paid.
“While external workers who are coming from bigger cities where covid-19 that are more affected are working freely and collecting their salaries as at wen due.”
He added that “The workers who have taken their pains to the gate of Shell by demonstration and blocking the gate to stop movement/ the company’s operations have been talked to exercise patience till now.”
“I am calling on SPDC to kindly advice their contracting firms to do the needful before it will get out of hand to disrupt the peace building process put in place by His Excellency Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa in the state.”
He said SPDC and other companies should apply the Nigerian Center for Disease Control NCDC rules on social distancing rather than shutting the people out of work.
It would be recalled that Amb. Chief Francis Boumiebi is a former chairman of Oil rich Ogulagha community, a position he used in transforming the lives of many in the community.