WARRI/Nigeria: Women drawn from eight riverine communities in Warri north local government area, under the umbrella of Olero women, have met with the Warri North Council Chairman, Hon. Aduge Okorodudu, and officials from Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, and Elcrest Nigeria PLC to formally air their grievances over their inability to fish in their territorial waters since the commencement of the joint operation at Jakptie.
The meeting which is coming on the heels of a peaceful protest carried out last week on the operation site by the women to bring to halt ongoing the operation, was presided over by the council boss, who advised that both parties enter into negotiations in order to forestall women agitations in the area; as Chevron PLC had done in past with various groups in areas of its operation.
The 30 days joint operation which the women said has led to the disappearance of aquatic life in the river, robbed them of their source of livelihood, and brought untold hardship in their families recently, had commenced on October 28.
In a letter of request presented to the representatives of the companies by the spokesperson, Mrs. Faith Gbugbemi, revealed that they were being marginalised by the said companies due to clear disregard of their sexuality.
Speaking further, Mrs. Faith noted that the women were not happy with how they are being treated, and called on them to implement measures to provide basic food supplies and alternative source of livelihood to alleviate their plight.
“Una companies no dey carry us along, we want make una give us the women wetin belong to us, just as Chevron company do, we want make una treat us as una go treat una sisters so that we no go dey protest,” she said.
On her part, Mrs. Hannah Tongbe lamented their present fate, saying it has led to hike in the price of food in their various communities.
Reacting to their demands, the spokesperson for Elcrest, Mr. Ben Masadi, assured them of the company’s readiness to partner with the women on empowerment programmes.
He said, “as partners in the joint operation, we plan in the coming months to empower my mothers and sisters, reason being that, when you empower one woman, you empower a whole family.”
He however thanked them for reaching out to them as it will go along way in strengthening relationship with the various communities in their area of operations in the future; and also promised the immediate distribution of food and other basic supplies to them.
Present during the meeting were, the secretary to the local government, Mr. Victor German, Head of personnel management of the council, Mr. Augustine Amigor, members of both the executive and the legislative arm of the council,and officers from the Police, and state security service(DSS).