Sapele community in Sapele Local Government Area, Delta State, are demanding the removal of the Chairman, Board of Directors, Seplat Energy PLC, Mr Basil Omiyi and members of the board over their refusal to relieve the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive of Officer, Mr. Roger Brown of his duties. The youths who embarked on a peaceful protest around the company’s premises accused Omiyi of conspiring with the board members of Seplat to frustrate the removal of Mr. Brown. Displaying placards which bore various inscriptions such as; “The MD Has Sown a Seed of Discord Among the People”, This is An Abomination,” Seplat Board and Roger, Stop All the Lies,” “Stop Bullying Our Community Staff, ” Respect Our Community Leaders,” alleged that the board was promoting racism, bullying and intimidation.
It will be recalled that the court had restrained Brown from parading himself as the firm’s CEO pending the determination of a suit filed against him and others by aggrieved stakeholders of the company. Speaking during the protest, Youth President of Okpe community, Mr Umukoro Dimbianimofa, lamented that the company had continued to neglect the youths of the community despite the fact that that they had always cooperated with the company. He told the company to “employ youths as full staff, not slave contract staff; Stop bullying staff; Bring back the Technical Department of Seplat from Aberdeen to Nigeria”. He lamented that the youths in Sapele community have turned to motorcycle riders in order to earn a living for themselves even when they have an oil company in their community.
According to him, “The reason why we are here protesting today is because of the marginalisation and intimidation of an oil company in our land, Seplat Energy PLC. We want our youths to be employed because unemployment brings backwardness and is a disease. Scholarship from Seplat has been a mirage. There is no employment, there is no empowerment for our youths and women. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other relevant authorities to come to our aid. We want peace because without peace no meaningful development could take place anywhere,” said Engr. Dimbianimofa. One of the protesters who gave her name as Mrs Faith Nyerovwho appealed to the government to wade into the plight of the community. She said “there are no jobs for the community youths. It is only the outsiders that they are employing in Seplat. There is no scholarship for our children and the suffering in the community is too much. We need the Federal Government to come to our aid.”