The Orodje of Okpe Kingdom in Delta State, Felix Mujakperuo, Orhue 1, has scored Seplat Development Company, an indigenous oil and gas exploration and production company operating in his domain abysmally low in the area of giving employment to graduates from the host community. Mujakperuo, a retired Army General, is distraught that graduates are forced to take to commercial motorcycle riding because of lack of jobs. He however thumbed up for the company in the area of development. The Orodje bared his mind in an interaction with journalists when the new chief executive officer, CEO, of the company, Roger Brown, paid him a courtesy call in his palace at Orerokpe.
Expressing hope that the new CEO of Seplat would look into his request for employment for his people, Mujakpuero said “We are not happy when our people are not employed by companies in our area. I am not happy when I see higher institution graduates riding commercial motorcycles all around. We do not want graduates from other areas dominating work in my kingdom. Although in terms of development, Seplat has been doing a lot because they have helped to build schools and others, in the area of employment, I will give them five per cent”.
It was the same demand at Oben community, an oil-producing community in Orhionmwon local government area of Edo State when the management team of Seplat led by its chairman, Ambrose Orjiako visited. Apart from demanding an end to gas flaring by oil companies in the area, the community also presented a long to-do list to the company on top of which was a request for immediate employment of their youths by the company. The community listed other demands which they said needed to be met as the host in order for Seplat to continue to enjoy the relationship that had ensured that peace reigned between them.
In an address by the spokesman of the community, Friday Eboigbe, they bemoaned the health implication of gas flaring to the inhabitants.. They requested for provision of uninterrupted electricity to the four communities that make up Oben Oil Field OML 4.
“We also want engagement of indigenous contractors from the host communities to executive significant projects for Seplat and also engagement of Oben Oil Field graduates in Seplat graduate training programme. We also need adequate security for the host communities to tackle the ravaging Fulani herdsmen who has turned Sakponba and Urhonigbe forests reserves to their den,” he stated. The community further urged the government to urgently see to the dualisation of the Benin-Abraka Road.
In his response, Orjiako who commended the communities for their peaceful disposition, promised to see to all their requests. He assured that the communities would get a befitting hospital with doctors as a matter of priority. “We are going to walk the talk. We are not just going to be talking; but you are going to be seeing action,” the chairman promised.
Brown, the new CEO, said of the visit to the host communities: “Our host communities are important stakeholders and we seek to build and nurture a lasting partnership with our communities while also promoting capacity building, implementing community development projects, and economic empowerment programmes”.