A group of physically challenged persons from Delta State stormed the corporate headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday to demand equal employment opportunities in oil companies operating in the region.
The protesters, organized under the Joint Association of Persons Living with Disabilities In Oil and Gas Producing Communities In Delta State, barricaded the express road leading to the NNPC headquarters, preventing both pedestrians and vehicles from entering the premises of the building.
Our correspondent gathered that the demonstrators were protesting their marginalization in NNPC employment, including positions in pipeline surveillance and petroleum products loading. They also protested their exclusion from skills acquisition and employment empowerment programs.
They stated that people living with disabilities deserve a percentage of the employment allotted to Delta State natives.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, one of the protesters, Alex Anidi, said that NNPC officials have reneged on their promises made to disabled persons in April 2017 after the group had staged a similar protest. He said that the petroleum minister had told the protesters that their grievances would be addressed.
“We are disabled persons from Delta State and we are here today to protest the marginalization of our members in the employment scheme by the oil companies. The government has been unfair to us and has neglected us,” Mr. Anidi said.
He explained that most of their members are university graduates with vast experience in various fields and therefore are eligible for employment in the NNPC. Mr. Anidi noted that the government has relegated them to the background with disdain, adding that they are part of society irrespective of their medical conditions.
Our correspondent observed that officials of the NNPC invited the leaders of the disabled persons’ organization into the headquarters for a meeting while other members of the organization continued protesting outside the building.