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Nigeria: Delta Lawmakers Angry With Shell Over Sackings

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Nigeria: Delta Lawmakers Angry With Shell Over Sack of 80 Percent Deltans

Vanguard (Lagos)

Austin Ogwuda
Lagos

MEMBERS of the Delta State House of Assembly, yesterday, expressed sadness that management of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) went ahead to sack 2,500 workers, out of which 80 percent are Deltans.

The members’ anger were aggravated when the company’s General Manager, West, Cor Zegelaar, in Warri failed to honour the invitation by appearing during yesterday’s sitting as resaved on Tuesday.

Almost all the members who spoke on the issue were bitter with the action of the company.

But, in a sharp reaction, the SPDC spokesman, Mr Precious Okolobo, said “the letter from the Assembly inviting SPDC to appear before it on June 12, 2008, arrived our office in Warri at 10am on June 12, 2008.

It was, therefore, not possible for SPDC to appear before the Assembly that same day. We are informing the Assembly of the situation.

It added that “SPDC holds the Delta State House of Assembly in high esteem as a key arm of the present democratic dispensation, and will continue to co-operate with it in the discharge of its legislative responsibilities.”

Member, representing Warri South West, Mr. Daniel Mayuku, who spoke first when it was realised that the General Manager shunned the invitation of the House, told the House that “today, I am a very sad man because about 80 percent of Deltans had their employment terminated by Shell between Tuesday and Wednesday. It is sad that among the sacked 2,500 workers, 80 percent are Deltans.

Worst still, they ignored the invitation of this House. I think this is a threat to democracy, a threat to livelihood of Deltans and the whole of us.”

Mr. Abel Oshevire, representing Ughelli North II, said “some of us are ready to carry placards. I am from an oil bearing community and I will be in the forefront to carry placard because my life is also at stake.

Let them (Shell) pack and go and we can fall back on agriculture because without Shell we can survive”, he stated.

Meanwhile, the House has extended another invitation to the company to appear on Wednesday next week, failing which the Speaker, Martins Okonta, said “if they refuse to show up, we will now know that they are the ones instigating the Niger Delta militants.”

http://allafrica.com/stories/200806130796.html

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