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Protesting workers of multi-billion Kwale/Okpai Gas Plant in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State Tuesday paralyzed activities at the oil facility over alleged inhuman treatment by the management of the company.
Following the protest, Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), owners of the facility, shut down the premises of the company to forestall any possible damage to the facility.
The Kwale/Okpai Gas Plant supplies 480 mega watts to the Independent Power Plant (IPP) in Okpai.
The aggrieved workers who were mainly in the junior category had blocked the entrance to the company’s premises as early as 6 am, preventing people from either going-in or coming out.
They alleged that the harsh condition of service being meted out on them was peculiar to indigenous workers from Ndokwa nationality which is the host community to NAOC.
Mr. John Anochie who spoke on behalf of the protesters, stated that the workers were initially placed on a monthly salary of N67,000 under a condition called labour services but were shocked in July last year when the wage was allegedly slashed to N30,000 per month, adding that the company also allegedly denied them of the token salary for over six months.
He further alleged that the company denied the effected workers’ access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical facilities, eating at the staff canteen as well as non-payment of Christmas, New Year and leave bonuses.
Anochie maintained that the treatment which he termed slave labour was peculiar to Ndokwa indigenes “unlike their counterparts at Irri in Isoko area of Delta State and Omoku (Obiafu/Obricom) in Rivers State.”
He lamented that indigenous marginal oil-field operators including Midwest Oil, Energia, Pillar Oil and Platform Oil operating in Ndokwa land pay their least workers over N100,000.00 monthly.
As at the time of filing this report, top management staffs of the company were not on hand to address the grievances of the protesters who vowed to sustain the industrial action until their demands were fully satisfied.
The gas plant managers informed newsmen that they were not in the position to react to the allegations against the company unless they got clearance from the company’s head office in Port Harcourt in Rivers State.
Also, efforts to reach the Public Affairs Manager, Prince Obi on phone were unsuccessful as his mobile phones were switched-off when the numbers were dialled.