By Chukwudi Ejimofor
Diebiri the host community of OML 42 Flow station, in Warri South West Council Area, operated by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), shut down the oil facilities over alleged marginalisation by the Delta State Government following the appointment of new members of the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC) by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The protesters are demanding that the Commissioner appointment slot for Ijaw ethnic nationality on the interventionist (DESOPADEC) be given to them over their contribution to huge oil and gas derived from the state.
The host community stormed the Batan Flow Station in their hundreds, demanded that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa reverse the Commissioner appointment slot given to another candidate from Gbaramatu Kingdom, stressing that that was not the name they submitted.
They vowed that the oil facility will remain shut until their Commissioner appointment slot in the DESOPADEC is given to them.
The Councilor representing the community, Frank Pukon, who spoke on behalf of the community said their rights have been trampled on by the state Governor,
He said “when DESOPADEC was created we have a rotational policy. Ogulagha has 19%, Gbaramatu has 17%, Egbema has 13, Diebiri has 11%, Idunu has 9%, Kor has 4%. The pioneer chairman was from Ogulagha. Okowa amended the board and created additional offices in the board. As a result of this, the Executive Director of the board was created which was given to pastor Philip Gbesin. It’s a clear fact that the next Commissioner of the board should come from Diebiri and not Gbaramatu”.
He expressed surprise that the person that was nominated from the kingdom was replaced with another person from Gbaramatu kingdom, a situation he said would not be accepted by the Diebiri people.
Pukon said unless their candidate’s name which they submitted to the Governor is reinstalled, they will continue to occupy the flow station.
Alluding to the Councillor opinion, Michael Douglas, Chairman Governing Council of Diebiri Kingdom said the shutting down of the flow station was to draw the attention of the governor to their plight and to let him know that they are oil producing community and stakeholders in the country.
“The DESOPADEC Commissioner appointment slot is out right, and until the state government gives us what rightfully belonged to us, we are not going to leave this place,” Douglas said.
As at the time of filing the report, the flow station was completely shut down, and workers forced to down tools.