Oben – Youths of Orhionmwon local government area of Edo state have accused Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc of not employing indigenes of area into the management cadre of the company.
They further accused the independent oil and gas exploration and production company of not extending development beyond its area of operations at Oben community which host it gas processing plant.
The youths who made the allegations in videos posted on Facebook on Saturday by Don Imatitikua Imatitikua, president of Orhionmwon Progressive Forum worldwide, urged youths from the area to stand up for their rights.
In the 2 minutes, 6 seconds and 2 minutes, 51 seconds videos recorded from inside a moving car apparently around the company at Oben, the youths called on Seplat to “have social benefits” for people across the local government.
The youths who did not show their faces in the videos were heard saying, “many Orhionmwon people; they don’t know that this thing (Seplat) is in their local government”
“this one no be London, na inside Orhionmwon, so you see say dem tar everywhere. Close to one hour now we have been driving inside here; they have MTN mast here, they have Glo, they have everything”
“once you comot from this location (Oben), you no go see light again, and that’s painful. This one no be film, na real”
“Orhionmwon youths are too patient. They don’t want to fight for their right. You can not imagine a multi-billion naira oil company located in our local government, and we are not seeing any positive impact”
However, when The Nigerian Observer contacted the poster, Imatitikua, to know whether the youths had engaged the company before doing the videos, he maintained that they have “proof” that Seplat employed some indigenes from the area, but in the company’s “lower cadre”.
According to him, “we have proof; that they normally employ our people in the lower cadre, like security men.
“We have graduates from orhionmwon and we don’t have our people in their management team. We’ve petition them before the DSS, and the DSS is holding a bridge meeting between them and us; and we are on it.”
When asked why he did not wait after the meeting outcome before going to social media, Imatitikua said, “we are going to use all available means” to pass their message.
Meanwhile, The Chief Executive Officer of Seplat, Roger Brown in his Sustainability Report presentation made to the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) earlier in the year said the company is strongly committed to delivering significant environmental, economic and social benefits that support United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“We have a deliberate policy of encouraging local contractors in the award of some jobs. The company takes the issue of local content delivery seriously. Over the years, Seplat has improved economic empowerment of women and youths with customised empowerment programme, sustained skills acquisition programme for youths in its communities whilst creating jobs and developing local suppliers.”