Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Federated Communities in Warri North council area of Delta state has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Chevron Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Police for the release of one of its own, Barry Ebidinana.
The communities, under the aegis of Polobubo Advocacy Group, also called on the Nigerian government and the international community to wade into the matter and stop the oil multinational from using security operatives to intimidate and abuse the locals.
In a press release signed by Comrades Paul Toruwei, Sanjumi Matthew, Aboh Markson and Aboh Godgift, the group described Ebidinana’s arrest as “another ill treatment” being meted on the communities by CNL.
Recall that Polobubo, host to one of Chevron’s facilities, was recently in the news over the Ipkpalakpalabou oil well head fire explosion which reportedly lasted from April to June 30, last month.
However, according to the release made available to journalists on Wednesday, some Polobubo youths were apprehended on July 18, by alleged “Chevron security operatives”.
The statement claimed that the youths were on official assignment as a pipeline facilities surveillance team at Opuekeba platform due to the recent well head inferno, refuting the allegations leveled against them.
Issuing a 48-hour ultimatum to Chevron to effect the release of Barry Ebidinana who is reportedly the surveillance supervisor, the community stressed that he was “arrested on allegations that are callous and unfounded,” adding that its youths have always maintained peaceful dispositions, even in the face of conflicts.
“Barry Ebidinana is a peaceful and law abiding son of Polobubo. We therefore call on Chevron and Nigerian Police Force to release our son without any further delay.
“Polobubo youths are not known for vandalism and destruction of public properties. To prove this further, in the era of the ethnic crisis, Polobubo and Opuama youths were the ones who secured Opuekeba platform and other facilities with their lives and not even a pin of chevron properties were damaged or destroyed, yet Chevron keep paying us with a bad coin,” part of the statement read.
Disclosing that nothing has been done to cushion the hazards of the recent fire, the group stated that the oil exploration activities of CNL has brought hardship, including degradation of its environment, to the people.
“We cannot stand this oppression any longer,” the community continued in the press release, further giving a list of intervention needs such as dredging a new canal for Polobubo communities to ease the current ecological problem, payment of $5 billion compensation for environmental pollution, among others.
Meanwhile, response from Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) was still being awaited as at the time of filing this report on Wednesday.