By Anozie Egole
The Ogu Youth Congress has threatened to paralyse operations at Onne port if Chevron Nigeria Limited proceeds with plans to move its logistics base out of the Onne Oil & Gas Free Zone.
In a statement, the president of the group, Taripakaye Gbobbo, while addressing journalists in Ogu, River State, said that the planned relocation of the Chevron Logistics base from the Onne Oil & Gas Free Zone would lead to severe economic hardship for people in the host community who have been supporting the operations of the oil company.
He said, “The operation of Chevron in our community has helped us a lot because our people are being employed and are earning salaries. But if Chevron leaves this facility, it will bring back hunger to the community because many people will go into poverty, thereby, increasing the level of poverty in the community.
“So, we are not in support of Chevron leaving this facility. Besides, our community is peaceful. There are no crises or militancy. So, they will not say they want to leave because of insecurity. Chevron should stay back and let us continue working as a community and company. I will write a letter to the Nigerian Ports Authority via the Port Manager, informing them that if Chevron wants to leave this facility, we will not allow them.”
He said while the group wanted dialogue and constructive engagement, it would not fold its arms and allow economic hardship to be foisted on hapless families as a result of the planned relocation of the Chevron Logistics Base from the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone.
Gbobbo called on the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Oil & Gas Free Zone and other appropriate organs of government to prevent any clandestine relocation of the base in order not to disrupt peace in the communities.
Recall that on Tuesday last week, hundreds of youths under the aegis of the Onne Youth Council staged a peaceful protest at the Chevron Logistics Base to protest the planned relocation of the base.
The youths, in their large numbers, carried placards with various inscriptions appealing to Chevron to rescind its decision to relocate its logistics base from Onne, as the move could have dire economic consequences on the community.
The President of Onne Youth Council, Tobiah Silas Tete, who led the peaceful, said, “It has come to our notice as members of the host communities, the leaders and community representatives of the Onne-Ikpokiri Clan that Chevron Nigeria Limited, an oil-producing company operating its shore/logistics base at the Oil & Gas Free Zone has commenced moves to relocate the base from its current location in Onne, Rivers State.
“This news came to us as a shock considering the strategic role the Chevron Logistics/Shore Base plays in our daily lives, especially as the company has enjoyed a very warm and cordial relationship with our peaceful and welcoming communities for over 30 years”