Tension is mounting in Ugbo communities of Ilaje local government area of Ondo state over alleged marginalisation of the indigenes under the the aegis of Amalgamation of Ilaje Ugbo Coastal Communities Association (AMAICOMMA) by the oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Ltd, in the award of contract in the communities.
The members of Association which expressed dissatisfaction over their exclusion in the award of contract have been threatening show down with Chevron unless the oil giant reverse to the normal practice of engaging local contractors from the area for the supply of equipment.
According to the Chairman of the association, Wole Ogungbeje, and Secretary, Engr. Kehinde Aladetan, in a press statement, none of the equipment for the project was given to any Ilaje contractors, despite some of them participating in the bidding process.
Other executives members who jointly signed the statement include, Prince Kehinde Aladetan - Vice Chairman I, Prince Alex O. Ikuesan - Vice Chairman II, Barr. Richard Alomore, Legal Adviser, Mr Dapo Ojajuni REMAS Committee Chairman and Mr Abayomi Ezekiel, the Field Coordinator.
AMAICOMMA, which gave the firm a 72-hour ultimatum to back down on its action, claimed that the usual practice of nominating local contractors from Ilaje for equipment supply has been compromised by Chevron for personal interest.
While appealing to the Group Chief Executive Officer, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, the Ondo State Government, and the Department of State Services (DSS), the association stressed that other ethnic groups are usually favoured over Ilaje.
They demanded that Chevron should disclose the total numbers and identities of the call-off contractors shortlisted for the drilling operations and that the communities due benefits, equipment supply, call-out contracts, and other entitlements be communicated and given to them before mobilising for drilling operations.
Ogungbeje said, "Chevron Nigeria Ltd. is about to ignite another crisis that is capable of impacting on oil production activities in the Ilaje offshore territory of Ondo State. AMAICOMMA Communities of Ugbo Land is the mandate area of Chevron Nigeria Ltd.'s offshore operations in Ondo State.
"AMAICOMMA communities from time immemorial have been continually shortchanged by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., while other ethnic groups are usually favored in terms of allocations of opportunities and benefits such as equipment supply, call-off contracts, registration of Ilaje AMAICOMMA contractors, and other opportunities.
"The most recent is the fraud against the collective interest of AMAICOMMA Communities of Ilaje Offshore Operations by Chevron Nigeria Ltd. in relation to the shallow water drilling (Project Panther) that is about to commence now.
He further stated that he "unequivocally demands the reversal of the erroneously and purportedly sent job opportunity mail to the yet unregistered Ugbo Trust by PGPA and channeling the same job opportunities to AMAICOMMA, which should include all benefits, opportunities, entitlements, and privileges accruable to AMAICOMMA communities from the upcoming drilling operations.
"It will interest everyone to know that all the equipment for the Panther drilling project has been hijacked by Chevron's top managerial staff in favor of different contractors where they have interest, as no single one was given to any Ilaje contractors despite the fact that some of our local contractors participated in the equipment supply bidding process for the Panther drilling project.
"Outside the bidding, the usual practice is that the local contractors from Ilaje are supposed to be nominated for the supply of equipment. All this has been compromised by Chevron PGPA for their personal interests.
"We therefore challenge Chevron Nigeria Limited to disclose the total numbers and identities of the call-off contractors shortlisted for this drilling operation
"AMAICOMMA Communities of Ugbo hereby strongly demand that their due benefits in terms of equipment supply, call-out contracts, and other entitlements be communicated and given to us before mobilization and not more than 72 hours from the date of this press release."