Posted by By Emma Amaize & Emma Arubi on
NO fewer than 10 persons were injured and hospitalized, yesterday, following a fracas involving some Itsekiri host communities to the Chevron-Texaco Oil Company over proper representation of the parties at a meeting called by the company in Warri.
WARRI — NO fewer than 10 persons were injured and hospitalized, yesterday, following a fracas involving some Itsekiri host communities to the Chevron-Texaco Oil Company over proper representation of the parties at a meeting called by the company in Warri.
It was gathered that armed thugs shot sporadically into the air while the rampage lasted and that it took the intervention of soldiers and mobile policemen before normalcy could be restored.
Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who was in Warri had to abandon other duties to visit the troubled spot to arrest the situation. He later directed the police to investigate the incident and take appropriate action.
Vanguard learnt that tension rose at the premises of the Chevron-Texaco when a report came that the office of the Iwere Development Association (IDA), led by Mr. Newuwumi Omolubi was being attacked by some Itsekiri youths from Gbokoda host community because their leader, Mrs. Esther Okotie-Eboh was not recognized by the IDA to participate in the meeting.
Both the Pagees Hotel, managed by Miss Mire Okotie-Eboh, daughter of Mrs. Esther Okotie-Eboh and the IDA office were damaged in the rampage. A source said the hotel was looted while another said computers were carted away from the association’s office.
Chevron-Texaco, however, called off the meeting when it sensed that there was serious trouble in town.
Omolubi told Vanguard that the IDA pressurized Chevron-Texaco to include the relevant portions of its 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the host communities which provided for employment of at least two youths every year, within the next five years from each of the 18 host communities; three contract staff from a host community and execution of a priority project to the community on a yearly basis in the new 2005 MoU.
He said that the faction opposed the IDA initiative throughout the negotiation only for it to want to sign agreement with the Chevron-Texaco on the deal the association struck.
The IDA boss said that it was because the faction was not allowed to have its way that it mobilized thugs to kidnap him and some members of his executive to abort the meeting, adding that "it was when that failed that the people came to vandalize the IDA office."
Miss Okotie-Eboh said that her mother was duly appointed by the Warri Monarch as the leader of the Gbokoda community and that the IDA people were unlawfully trying to prevent her from representing the community.
Secretary of Itsekiri National Youths Council, Mr. Isaac Dorsu, speaking with Vanguard yesterday appealed to the state government to focus on thugs who seize every opportunity to wreak havoc on law abiding citizens.
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