From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A group of landlords in the swamp areas that play host to Nigerian Agip Oil Company ( NAOC) in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States, have threatened to shut down the operations of the multi-national company over an alleged lopsided appointment and marginalisation by the firm.
The group through its leader, Onisoya Odum at the NUJ Press Centre Port Harcourt, over the weekend said the activities of the oil company was detrimental to the host communities and appealed to the state government to set up a panel of inquiry to ascertain the alleged marginalisation against them.
Odum said the key positions in the company were shared to non indigenes, even when they do not have the requisite qualification, adding that the situation was tantamount to ethnic cleansing.
He alleged that the millions of dollars being siphoned through huge operational contracts under this scheme might be used in sponsoring the activities of the indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) in the Niger Delta states particularly, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states where the company predominantly has its operations.
According to him, “about 23 indigenes of Rivers and Bayelsa States in high positions in the company were either sacked or relegated and replaced by people outside their host communities”.
The group threatened that except the alleged ethnic cleansing in the company stops and the indigenous people, particularly from Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states are immediately reinstated, they will not hesitate to occupy all the operations bases of the oil and gas company.
“We will not fail to mobilize ourselves to shut down operations if our voice is not heard”, he warned.
Effort to reach the community relations Manager of NAOC, Denis Maxi to react to the allegations was unsuccessful.