TENSION is mounting at Kokodiagbane and other Ijaw host communities of Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, in Delta State, over the manner the multinational oil firm is handling the conversion of graduates that participated in its Vocational Training and Operator Training Programmes.
Graduates of Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms, under the auspices of KOMBOT, Moses Yabrade, in statement, yesterday, confirmed that the patience of the people of Kokodiagbene, Opuama, Makaraba, Benekrukru, Okoituure and Tsekelewu host communities was running out over the treatment meted out to their graduates.
He said: “Dissatisfied over how Chevron has handled the Vocational Training Programme 5 /Operator Training Programme 2 (VTP5/OTP2) and Vocational Training Programme 6 (VTP6)’s conversion case, we are speaking out. “Peaceful efforts were made by the three Regional Development Councils, RDCs, of Ijaw, Ilaje and Itsekiri, including the graduate bodies to Chevron to address these abnormalities and injustice over the years but without success .”
“We had towed the line of dialogues with several meetings held between management of CNL and host communities representatives, but all these had met a brick wall. Security agents, representatives of governors of Delta and Ondo states were well informed of this development and participated in ensuring peace resolution of the issue at hand.
“This is to inform the public and CNL in particular to address this issue with all urgency. CNL needs to act because our patience as indigenes of host communities is fast running out. “The VTP5/OTP2 Operation and Maintenance technician trainees are the fifth set to apply for Chevron Training Programme in 2007. They called them for aptitude test, later skilled test (COBRA) and thereafter, did interview in 2008.
101 graduates resumed training at Ogere Training centre, Ogun State in March 2013 after much pressure from host communities. “The training programme regulation is for 18 months before their conversion to CNL staff. Almost five years down the line, they are still yet to be converted to CNL staff, even after completing their classroom training and the on-the-job learning.
“It will be recalled that the purpose of CNL establishing the Ogere training programme, was to address the imbalance/shortage of indigenous (host communities) employment, into the company (CNL), hence the need to establish this program, to train and recruit host community graduates as staffs of the CNL company.
“However, CNL is gradually derailing from her well- thought out plans and intentions in recent years when in 2008, they refused to train over 30 Egbema and Gbaramatu graduates that passed their tests and interviews up to medical stage. CNL has now refused to convert the 2013 batches, thereby creating a negative impression of deliberate witch-hunting of host community graduates,” he said.