Oil and gas production in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State is set to experience disruption by Ijaw Women as the 10 days ultimatum given to the Federal Government to address some demands expires on Tuesday.
The Traditional Council of Chiefs of Communities that make up Gbaramatu Kingdom had nine days ago, given President Muhammadu Buhari 10 days to address issues bordering on perceived marginalisation of the kingdom.
Spokesman of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama who issued the ultimatum on behalf of Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs, warned that women of the kingdom would disrupt oil and gas operations if their requests were not addressed before Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists during a protest rally held on Saturday at Oporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Gbenekama warned the Federal Government against dismissing the threat, stressing that the people were set to execute it.
What are their grievances?
Children, youths, women and the elderly who were present at the rally brandished placards denouncing the alleged neglect and abandonment of the oil and gas-producing kingdom.
According to Chief Gbenekama, the planned disruption would be averted if the FG swiftly restart the Deep Seaport and the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Gas Revolution Industrial Park, Ogidigben in Gbaramatu as both projects have suffered neglect since the current government took over in 2015.
He explained that a completion of the EPZ Gas Revolutionary Park and the Deep Sea Port started in Gbaramatu by former President Goodluck Jonathan will dislodge unemployment by providing thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the people.
Other grievances aired by Chief Gbenekama on behalf of the people include the need for the Federal Government to recommence work on the abandoned Omadinor – Escravos road project with a view to enhancing peaceful coexistence between the Itsekiris and Ijaws of Warri South-West and Warri South local government areas.
He called the FG to halt bidding process for the 57 Marginal Fields, stressing that fresh modalities be created to enable competent companies owned by sons and daughters of the kingdom to enjoy the right of the first-time refusal on fields located in the area.
The spokesperson further called for immediate relocation of the Floating Dock/Ship Building Yard back to the kingdom explaining that the relocation will aid practicals of students of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU). In addition, he urged the FG to facilitate immediate relocation of the Floating Dock/Ship Building Yard back to the kingdom to aid practicals of students of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU).
On their part, women of Gbaramatu kingdom have expressed readiness to take over all oil and gas companies in their domain come Tuesday. Speaking to newsmen via a chat, Leader of the Ijaw Gbaramatu women, Chief Vero Tangbowei said her colleagues were ready to execute the threat.
“We will execute threats of shutting down all exploration activities in our homeland if the Federal Government ignores our demands. Yes, we have stayed silent for too long. It is about time we stopped being silent,” she said.