Alleged Subversion: Protesting Orere-Uluba women, present demands to Seplat

Accuse two indigenes of the community of monopolizing contract for Integrated Pipeline Surveillance System, IPSS


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Alleged Subversion: Protesting Orere-Uluba women, present demands to Seplat
A cross section of the protesting women, with placards


 

Women from Orere-Uluba Community in Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State, today, Wednesday August 3, barricaded the gate of Seplat Petroleum Development Company in Sapele, protesting over alleged subversion and illegality by the oil firm, Fresh Angle International, can authoritatively report.

 

Our Correspondent, who covered the protest, reports that the peaceful protesters, chanting solidarity songs, vowed to remain at the company’s gate, until the company meet their demands.

 

The protesters, carried placards with inscriptions such as: "Who is the surveillance contracting firm in Orere-Uluba pipeline?, "Seplat, let us know the house boat contractors & those doing supply", ",Seplat recognize the new Exco led by Hon. Benjamin Iwetan", "Seplat respect the rule of law!!", "Seplat our children need scholarships","Seplat IPSS tenure is 3years. Why is Orere-Uluba Community case different?" "Seplat, we demand empowerment scheme","Seplat unite us. Don't divide us","Seplat stop imposing Dere Jarikpe & Andrew Okotie on us" and "Seplat give us IPSS agreement signed with Orere-Uluba Community.

 

In an address read by Etse Vivian Ola on behalf of the protesting women, she said: “Since Shell Petroleum Development, Company, SPDC divested its interests in the Western Swamp to Seplat over fifteen(15)years ago, the company has failed in its duty to improve our living standard”.

 

The address, which was presented to the Base Manager of Seplat, Mr. Emmanuel Otokine, reads further: “We are aware that since 2006, the company created an outfit known as the Integrated Pipeline Surveillance System, IPSS in all communities within its area of operations in Delta State, it has a defined tenure of three years. The outfit is to act as intermediary between the community and Seplat, covering supply of community pipeline security men, receive funds and payments to security men, number of elders, leaders, women at regular or monthly basis, recurring community bonuses and disburse same.

 

"From 2006, one Dere Jarikpe, was appointed Chairman of the Community on a four-year tenure and a possible second tenure of another four years and no more. Since 2009, one Mr. Andrew Okotie, was appointed chairman of the IPSS, with a tenure of three years. These two gentlemen from the respective years of appointments, with the active connivance of Seplat, have refused to relinquish their positions and the company, has continued to recognize them, even when they knew their tenures have long expired. Nothing was delivered to the community by the Andrew Okotie led IPSS till date as dictated by the IPSS agreement and the Orere-Uluba Women here with us, have continued to be in penury.

 

"After much agitation for a change in the community, on the 2nd of November 2020, an election was held upon the directive of the Olu of Warri Kingdom and one Benjamin Iwetan led executive was elected to run the affairs of the community, with a consequent advancement of another IPSS chairman. The outcome of the election was duly communicated to Seplat. The company refused to honour the election and continue to deal with the aforementioned men, who have continuously ripped-off the community with the active connivance of Seplat. The regrettable end result, is why Andrew Okotie holds on tight to the IPSS and all its benefits, Dere Jarikpe hold on to the community chairmanship and all the contracts that accrue from the house boat operated by DEWAYLES Nigeria Limited, located in our community, a contracting firm to Seplat.

 

"The frustration caused by the ignoble role played by Seplat necessitated the newly elected executive of the community to seek redress in Warri High Court in Suit No:W/160/2021, where the SSID Dere Jarikpe and Andrew Okotie as well as Seplat are defendants. On the 10th of May 2022, the Warri High Court presided over by Hon. Justice V.O. Agboje(Mrs.) among other things, granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the said Dere Jarikpe and Andrew Okotie from the position of community chairman and chairman of IPSS respectively. To our uttermost disappointment, Seplat still continue to deal with the aforementioned as if there is no court order or human decency, does not have a place in modern Nigeria. The court order is hereby attached. 

 

"The action if Seplat not only constitute an act of underdevelopment of the community, it is equally suggestive that judicial pronouncement is to be sacrificed in place of acts of brigandage. This action of Seplat, is to set the company ablaze in due course and if it happens, Seplat should be held responsible."

 

The protesters, accused Seplat of playing double standard with Orere-Uluba Community, saying the company, has persistently refused to enforce the maximum tenure of three years for the IPSS Committee membership as it does to other of her host communities.

 

"Seplat and its contractor, DEWAYLES Nigeria Limited, have refused to stop dealing with the said Dere Jarikpe and Andrew Okotie, even on the face of a subsisting court order already served on Seplat.

 

"Seplat has refused to give fair hearing to the newly elected executive and other stakeholders of the community, such as the women who are here today, who have been complaining against Seplat’s connivance with those who do not seek the development of our community.

 

"Seplat has persistently refused to hold any town hall meeting with Orere-Uluba Community to keep abreast with its development challenges as demanded under Corporate Social Responsibility.

 

"All transactions between Seplat and the said Dere Jarikpe and Andrew Okotie on behalf of Orere-Uluba Community have been cases of rip-off. 

 

"The women of the community, have continued to be denied of the necessary stipends under the IPSS arrangement and other forms of empowerment due to the women under the Corporate Social Responsibility of the company", they explained.

 

The protesters, added:"Orere-Uluba needs fresh air as Dere Jarikpe and Andrew Okotie, have greatly strangulated the community and ensure it does not grow, its time Seplat assist us to break away from their clutches.

 

"Seplat must not constitute a clog in the will of progress in the community by dealing with the said Dere Jarikpe and Andrew Okotie. Seplat should encourage a seamless transition of administration of their host communities.

 

"Andrew Okotie, has refused to make a copy of the IPSS agreement available to us, hereby denying the community the opportunity to know what is due each segment of the community. Accordingly, we hereby demand the release of a copy of the IPSS agreement it signed with Orere-Uluba Community to us for scrutiny.

 

"We hereby demand the stoppage of any contract between Dere Jarikpe company with DEWAYLES Nigeria limited in the house boat located in our community over the supply of various items, as he alone has been enjoying this privilege for several years.

 

"Meaningful negotiation, must commence and agreements reached in critical aspects of our grievances itemized above, before we vacate this premises. 

 

"We mobilized ourselves here and we are ready to bear the risks, inconveniences and likely acts of repression, that might follow until all our grievances and demands are addressed.

 

"The law enforcement agencies should hold Seplat responsible, if there is any breakdown of law and order, as we have endured enough."

 

In swift reaction, Seplat Base Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Otokine, stated that the company was not responsible for the leadership crisis rocking the community, stressing that the oil firm does not decide who leads the community. 

 

Otokine, denied that Seplat has been dealing with Dere Jarikpe since 2006. According to him, "We were not in existence 16years ago."

 

Otokine, who also feigned ignorance that several letters had been written to Seplat without any responses, promised to investigate the receipt of the letters, when he was confronted with copies by the protesters.

 

He advised the protesters to obtain a letter from the palace of the Olu of Warri Kingdom, introducing the newly elected community executive to the Seplat, assuring that they will honour same.

 

Earlier, one of the protesters, Grace Opuro, said Seplat should answer them, accusing Seplat of ‘spoiling’ their community.

 

Another of the protesters, Veli Temile Orere-Uluba, claimed that for the past fourteen years, Dere Jarikpe, has been ruling the community as chairman, but they have not seen the contracts, money for women, alleging, "they collect it to themselves."

 

An indigene of Orere-Uluba Community, Omatseye Yesin, who spoke with newsmen, shortly after a closed-door meeting with the management of Seplat, said they were advised to go to the palace of the Olu of Warri to obtain a letter introducing the new leaders to the company, which they already did.

 

According to him, they were made to understand how the supply of water, house boat and food were handled, but they refused to allow them meet with the contractors, because of the company's policy, so as not to breach the security.

 


Copyright: Fresh Angle International (www.freshangleng.com)
ISSN 2354 - 4104


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Tonebsky Nesta
Tonebsky Nesta is the pen name for Metsese Anthony Ebule, Co-Publisher/Editor-In-Chief
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