A crowd of Ijaw youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council, Monday barricaded the gate of Total Exploration and Production Limited in Port Harcourt protest against a road traffic accident caused by one of the company’s drivers.
The accident was believed to have injured about six persons on June 15. The protesters, numbering over 60, blocked the main entrance into the oil company and stopped people from going in and out of the premises for about two hours.
They sang war songs and carried placards with inscriptions like ‘This is man’s inhumanity to man’, ‘We cannot be bruised, battered and abandoned by Total E&P escort team because of their expatriates’ and ‘We demand the treatment and adequate compensation of our brothers and the replacement of their damaged vehicles/property’.
Spokesman of the protesters and National Director of Mobilisation, Strategy and Planning, IYC, Mr. Bristol Alagbariya, said one of the company’s drivers had in June injured about six persons when he was conveying some expatriate staff of the company.
He said the incident occurred when the driver took the expatriates to lunch at Eliconia Park located at Eastern Bypass, Port Harcourt. He recalled that the driver of the vehicle drove in a manner that caused stampede outside the gate of the park which caused multiple accidents, leaving six pedestrians injured.
He said three of those injured during the stampede and currently receiving treatment in a hospital were members of Ijaw Youth Council. Alagbariya expressed sadness that Total, whose vehicle caused the stampede, did not bother about the lives of the injured or cater for their medical treatment.
He also recalled that the IYC had written to Total, the police and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly on the matter, adding that nothing was done to assuage the feelings of those injured in the accident.
He however said the management of the company, through its Director of Administration, Mr. Peter Igbinovia, had promised to ensure that those injured during the accident were properly treated. “The management of Total said they were not aware of the problem and promised to take care of the medical bills of those injured,” Alagbariya added.