By Binebai Princewill
As the predominantly women protest entered its second day yesterday, paralyzing Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC operations in Obotobo I community, Ogulagha Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, controversy has surrounded alleged claim of relief materials made available to the protesting women.
The Liberator Newspaper can report that while fisherwomen from Obotobo 1, 2, Yokiri and Sokebolou communities in Oil producing Ogulagha Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State began a massive protest by occupying SPDC premises in Obotobo I community over the non chalant attitude of the multinational oil company and the Delta State Government in failing to address pending issues there have been counter and cross counter claims on the matter among stakeholders.
The pending issues according to them is the wanton destruction of their fishing materials by military gunboats hired by SPDC, thereby preventing fishermen and women from fishing which according to them is their main source of livelihood.
Members of the said communities had prior to this time attempted to lockdown SPDC premises in the area, wanting a truce on the matter where they can have unhindered access to fish in their God given river and not a situation where SPDC hired military gunboats destroying their fishing materials and at the same time warning and preventing them from fishing in their river.
Members of the said communities had wanted SPDC to adequately compensate them for bringing untold hardship on them as they can’t train their children and when their source of livelihood is being destroyed.
However, despite the Delta State Government intervention through the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emman Ambgaduba who led a powerful political delegation to Obotobo I community in November 2019 to calm fray nerves in the communities with a promise of addressing the issue proves fruitless, as four months later things gets worse for the fishermen and women.
Unbearable as it has become, the women took to the streets and occupies the SPDC premises on Monday 9th of March 2020 with a vow to remain there until the needful is done.
Meanwhile, the duo of John Gabari, youth president of Obotobo 1 and his counterpart, Comr. Samuel Ebiarede Uyadongha, youth president of Obotobo II had countered the Executive chairman of Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Hon. Godknows Angele, saying that while the protest still lingers, the women are yet to get any relief materials or token from the local government chairman.
The youth presidents had described the development as unfortunate, stressing that the council chairman must not mislead the gullible public.
Nevertheless, when contacted the council chairman, Hon. Godknows Angele hinted our reporter that he has no issue with anyone as he only redeemed his pledge of #500,000.00 he made to the fisherwomen during the November meeting.
Chairman Angele explained that the money was handed over to some leaders of the women in the presence of JTF commander in Forcados Terminal and the State Security Service, SSS director in the Local Government Area yesterday at Burutu, headquaters of the local government.
He maintained that the council is working hard together with other authorities to ensure that the protest is brought under control as peace is priceless.