Youths in Ore community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State on Friday caused serious gridlock on Ore/Benin and Ore/Akure roads while protesting against their exclusion in oil pipeline reticulation project in the community.
The protesters stormed the sites of the project and prevented the continuation of work.
The inscriptions on the placards carried by the protesters include: “EFCC Should Probe this Project”, “This Injustice Done to Shimat Must Stop,” “Zhakhem, Pay Us our Money,” among others.
Matthew Akinsola, the Youth Leader of Odigbo kingdom, told newsmen that they were not carried along in the execution of the project, noting that usually, there was a certain percentage of the contract meant to be given to youths.
He said: “In any contract, there are some benefits meant for the youths and the community, but Zhakhem and Bradama companies are treating us as cowards.
“There is a percentage they should give us and even besides, we are supposed to be part of the workforce. They have not employed any youth here and they came with all their workers and working on our land.”
Akinsola disclosed that when Shimat company was handling the reticulation project, many indigenes of the community were employed and the community benefitted.
He, however, called on President Muhammad Buhari to intervene in the process.
Corroborating the Youth Leader, Mr Ken Osadebe, the General Manager of Shimat Company, Ore, noted that there was great injustice meted out to his company by Zakhem company, who got the project from NNPC before subletting to others.
“Shimat got a section of the project, which was about 25-kilometre and it completed it since 2016 with borrowed money, but its money was not being paid by Zakhem company.
“They are owing us over N400 million. We have complained to NNPC, but it is yet to be paid. And to add salt to injury, they brought another company which is Bradama to suppress our youths and the community.
“Our youths are not employed to be part of its workforce and NNPC and Zakhem are not responding to our yearning for payment.
“We are today to stop the injustice and the Federal Government should pay us.”
Osadebe disclosed that there is 10 per cent embedded in the contract to cater for community and youths, but alleged that the money was not paid by Bradama.
All efforts to speak with personnel of Bradama company on the site proved abortive as they didn’t volunteer to comment on the development.