Members of Alesa Clan, the host Community to Port Harcourt Refinery Company trooped out to protest non-inclusion in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of one of Nigeria’s largest refineries situated in Alesa, Eleme LGA.
The Community members who accused the firm handling the rehab project, Tecnimont Group of conspiring with the traditional ruler of Alesa J.D. Mkpe and a few leaders of the community to undermine the Nigerian local content law which mandates companies to bequeath 30% of employment opportunities and contracts to members of the host Community as well as indigenous firms.
The protesters expressed their determination and resolution to employ all legal means necessary to ensure that the local content law is implemented and their youths adequately engaged.
Protesters carry various placards with inscriptions, demanding the resignation of the government recognized traditional ruler of Alesa clan.
Some of the inscriptions are:
“Nkpe must go”
“We say no to Putin of Alesa”
“Emperor must Go for converting our street light to personal use”
“Pharoah of Alesa must go”
“Enough is Enough, Alesa people are loosing out in the on going TAM”
And several others.
Speaking to pressmen, Jike Abbey, a stakeholder expressed total dismay and dissatisfaction with the manner in which the rehab contract is being handled without giving the Community her due entitlements in line with the Nigerian local content law, adding that people of the host Community where the turn around maintenance is being carried out and almost at the concluding stage, scarcely benefit from the project because employment opportunities coming out from the Rehab are usually diverted by their Paramount Ruler and sold to strangers who are not members of the community.
He further stated that their Paramount Ruler does not engage the community or update the Community in the area of employment opportunities given to the community to select capable members of the community who can offer effective services to the firm.
Abbey noted that the reconstruction project which is worth 1.5 billion dollars is a rare opportunity for the host community to benefit directly from PHRC sited on there land, but however regrets that it is being scuttled by the traditional ruler of Alesa
“We hardly benefit from Refinery. Refinery does not employ our people. If you want to get employment, a man who does not know his way to Abuja can not be employed. You know the stories about that. Invariably, we hardly benefit from Refinery.
Now if there is a window of opportunity for us as it is in the law of the federal republic of Nigeria, to say at least 30% of the employment and contracts should be given to the host Community. Funny enough we do not know where we stand in this project.” Abbey said.
Abbey further narrated that they have engaged several other legal means including petitioning the national assembly to ensure that the people’s interest are taken into consideration but they all proved abortive before resorting to a peaceful demonstration to the palace of the king of Eleme, Paramount Ruler of Alesa and PHRC, adding that they will not rest until they achieve their goals.