Youth from the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State have accused the Oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, of failing to implement the General Memorandum of Understanding. That general memorandum, or GMOU, was signed with the people of the area because they had refused to merge communities in the Oil producing sector together.
At a protest held in Akure, the state capital, the aggrieved youths numbering in the hundreds, had matched over to the Governor’s office along Alagbaka road. It was a dramatic display that featured the angry youth with placards bearing various inscriptions, chanting solidarity songs, and calling out the oil giant with unprintable names.
The GMOU is an agreement reached jointly at paying a certain fee to the communities for the development of the area. Yet, oil giant had refused to fulfill its own part of the agreement that touched-off the large protest march.
Leaders of the march had said Chevron Nigeria limited had deprived them much of their rights in their own land, by capitalizing on the unresolved rejection of a merger proposed for the oil communities in the area.
The Youth also accused the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Aderotimi Adeola, and the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Shola Ebiseni, and other key government officers, of colliding with the oil giant of depriving them their rights and ownership to their land. All are part of Governor Olusgeun Mimiko’s cabinet.
In a protest letter obtained by a SaharaReporters correspondent, the youth leaders who took part in the march implored Governor Olusegun Mimiko to urgently intervene in the matter before it gets ‘out of hand.’
The letter stated that if the matter was not resolved, it may spark up a crisis, not only in the oil producing areas of the state, but it might possibly affect the present administration on board.
Our correspondent learned that there have been several unresolved issues among many in the affected communities in the Ilaje areas of the state, but chief among them that the Oil Communities should merge together, and under one body.
Cherevon Nigeria Limited, CNL, was said to have brought the idea of the merging the communities some years ago. Their motive was simple, from their viewpoint it would probably ease decisions in dealing with the Ilaje people, and give them entitlement of what that belongs to them.
A source inside Chevron Limited who requested that he not be named told our Correspodent in October last year that, "the real truth is that, having one umbrella body, or Association, from the oil producing area of the state will definitely make it easy.” The source added, "this will make, and help us to support them, and eventually renumerate them, and anything we have for them will surely go straight into the account of the organization," he said.
The Ugbo Community in Ilaje was said to have been opposed to the move that people from Mahin kingdom should merge with them in forming the association. For them it is an act believed to be orchestrated by the Commissioner for Environment in the state, Mr. Shola Ebiseni.
It was learned that the oil Company had three years ago stopped to remit funds for the development of the communities.
Local residents who live on farmlands in the community were said to be affected by the products of the oil giant, with pollution being a focus. But farmers are not alone on this issue, thus, giving both farmers and fishermen in the area a great worry and concern over their own future.
However this dispute pans out, many in the Ilaje Local Government Area have accused Governor Mimiko's administration of aiding, if not offering, its tacit complicity in Chevron Nigeria Limited’s failure to honor the GMOU.