Eleme Youths Block Onne Ports


Business activities in the oil and gas industry in the oil-rich Rivers State, southsouth Nigeria, were  disrupted today, as thousands of protesting youths from Eleme Communities in Eleme Local Government Council  area of the state, blocked Eleme Junction along East-West road.

This prevented access roads to over 150 multi-national companies and the two Onne Ports in the state.

Also, the access roads leading to two Port Harcourt refineries, Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, Intels, Prodeco,  Petroleum Tank Farms, etc. and into Port Harcourt, the state capital, were also blocked by the protesting  youths who took to the streets to complain about marginalisation and neglect by the government.

P.M.NEWS gathered that the protest was carried out to get the attention of President Goodluck Jonathan who is  expected to declare open an oil and gas international conference today in the area.

The youths alleged that because they don’t have influential people in government their rights to the land is  encroached upon with impunity in Eleme Communities of Alode and Alesa by their Okrika neighbours, where Mrs.  Patience Goodluck Jonathan, the wife of the President hails from.

President of Eleme Youths Federation, Comrade Isaac Obe, said that all access roads to Eleme area would  remain blocked until the Federal Government addresses the issue of boundary adjustments between the community  and Okrika as provided for in the 1999 government White Paper on the matter.

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The youth leader also said that one of their grievances is the refusal of Integrated Logistics Limited,  Intels, concessionaires of Onne Ports, to employ Eleme youths, while Okrika youth are recruited regularly  even when Eleme people are co-host to Intels.

Also reacting to the protest and blockade, Mr. Josaiah Orlu, the lawmaker representing Eleme constituency in  the Rivers State House of Assembly, said he was aware of the protest and corroborated the allegation made by  the youth leader that the community is being marginalised.

He said the marginalisation of Eleme people should stop and the government should listen to the youths to  avoid violence in the area.

Police officers, soldiers and other security agents have been drafted to Eleme community to forestall  violence and enable all the invited guests have access to the venue of the conference which will hold in the  Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone.

—Okafor Ofiebor/     Port Harcourt

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