By Gabriel Elozino, Asaba
Commuters plying the Ozoro/Kwale axis of the Ughelli/Asaba expressway were on Monday 21st February, 2022 stranded for several hours as residents and indigenes of Ovrode Community in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, thronged the road in their large numbers in a renewed protest against governments’ neglect of the community.
The protest is the second in secession being embarked upon by the community within the space of three weeks.
The Trumpet recalled that the community had on 31st of January, 2022 embarked on a similar protest but had to sheathe their sword after they were assured by government representatives that their concerns would be addressed.
The renewed protest according to the leadership of the community was as a result of failure on the part of the government to honour the promise made to them during the first protest.
The protesters, comprising men, women and youths of the community besieged the road for hours with placards bearing various inscription such as, “Ovrode is bleeding, “No federal and State Government projects in Ovrode Community”, “Our Grammar school is in a bad shape, no teachers and no chairs”, “No Constituency projects in Ovrode Community,” “Oil exploration in our community since 1963 till date and nothing to show for it”, among others.
Addressing newsmen at the scene of the protest, the President General of Ovrode Community, Mr Felix Efedhoma said, the community has been completely abandoned by both State and Federal Government despite being an Oil producing community since 1963 till date.
In his words; “Ovrode as an Oil producing community since 1963 till date, has no federal or state government projects in the community. Ovrode Community is seriously bleeding. No Primary Health Care Center in the community, No portable water to drink, both Primary and Secondary schools in the Community are all dilapidated.
“Since two weeks ago we made the first protest, could you believe that we have not heard from the State or Federal Government. It was four days back that the Local Government Council Chairman called me and appealed that he will see what he can do. Not even a response from the Honourable Member representing Isoko North Constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly. This is to show the height of negligence from the State and Federal Government.
Corroborating the President General, the Youth Leader of Ovrode Community, Comrade Viano Unweh, frowned at the poor state of infrastructural development in Ovrode Community, vowing that, they will continue the protest till when both State and Federal Government yield to their demands.
“We as a peaceful loving community have supported both State and Federal Government in all elections since 1999 till date. But the presence of Government at all levels is not felt in the community. No State or Government appointment. This shows that the state and federal government has taken Ovrode Community for granted which we want to put an end to today”, he added.
As at the time of filing this report, no Government officials from both Local, State and Federal Government were on ground to address the protesters.
Ovrode community is one among many Niger Delta oil producing communities that have been abandoned and left to deteriorate with adverse effects of exploration activities.