The group with membership drawn from the Itsekiri, Ijaw, Elaje and Urhobo ethnic groups, all host communities of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) in Delta State called on the company to relocate its headquarter to its operational base in Warri, Delta State instead of Lekki Lagos in line with the Federal Government requirement.
CHOCOPROCO which led a protest to the Chevron Nigeria Limited base in Warri early on Tuesday morning and subsequently briefed journalists alleged that the company is colluding with some persons to marginalise the host communities giving them less than the local content policy of the Federal Government demands.
Led by their chairman, Emmanuel Adidi, the group said while they were open to dialogue the company chose rather to dub them criminals and warned that if every attempt to dialogue fails they will have no choice than to take more drastic steps.
They claimed that while they are contractors to Chevron as host communities and as stated in the Local Content Law the bulk of contract goes to a select few and others who are not members of the host communities.
The group alleged that persons who are staff of Chevron use business names to carry out contracts for the company effectively denying the host community members their rights.
They demanded to be carried along in the day to day procurement opportunities and awards and the immediate relocation of the Purchasing/procurement headquarters from Lekki back to Warri the operational base of Chevron Nigeria Limited as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
However in its reaction, the Nigerian arm of the American oil company in a statement by its Communications Manager, Sola Adebawo, maintained that “the contractors under the aegis of Chevron Host Community Procurement Contractors (“Chocoproco”), which is also known as E-Procurement Contractors are benefiting or have benefited from purchase orders awarded by the company through a rigorous competitive tendering process that provides opportunities to all the Procurement Contractors in our operating areas.”
Chevron Nigeria also claimed that “it continues to follow Local Community Contractors Standard Operating Procedure, which is part of a well-established contracting process developed to ensure contracting opportunities are managed on a fair basis and for the benefit of its communities – East and West of the Niger Delta.”
“The Local Community Contracting process is driven by the Global Memorandum of Understanding where the Regional Development Councils (RDCS) are pivots of empowerment” the stated said, adding that “there has been marked growth in the contracts awarded to community Contractors over the past three years.”
“We continue to work with all stakeholders including the contractors to overcome challenges, seek ways to continually improve our processes and come to an amicable resolution” the company added.
CNL also noted that its highest priority remains the safety of its employees, contractors and the security of its assets in its areas of operations.