By John Oghojafor, Delta
The Okpe Communities of Delta State comprising both Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas have handed down two-week ultimatum to Management of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) to reverse a recent employment exercise for junior workers in which they alleged the Okpe people who are one of the host communities were shortchanged and marginalized in the process.
In a joint press conference held in Orerokpe recently, the President General of Okpe Union Worldwide, Chief Robert Onome explained that the Okpe are peace-loving people, adding that the management of the PTI has pushed them to the wall by their continuous marginalization and shortchanging of the Okpe people on the issue of employment and other community social responsibilities.
It would be recalled that the management of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun recently embarked on the recruitment of junior staff to fill existing vacancies in the non-academic staff section of the school. It was alleged that the management of the Institute completely shut-out applicants from Okpe communities who are among the host communities entitled to a fair share of the employment opportunities.
Speaking during the press conference, the President-General of the Okpe Union Worldwide who was accompanied by other members of executive of the Union including the President of the Okpe Youth Council, Hon. Harrison Ekeleme, disclosed that the Okpe community were entitled to 30 percent slots of any employment carried out by the institution based on the Local Content Law.
Chief Onome explained that a meeting was held with the management of PTI when they got the information of the pending recruitment exercise, adding that the management in that meeting denied “that there is no recruitment going on in PTI.”
The President-General said that they were surprised that the applications of over 50 Okpe sons and daughters were rejected when the management eventually carried out the recruitment exercise, adding that all efforts to seek audience with the management of the Institute including representatives of HRM Orodje of Okpe kingdom where shunned.
“To our chagrin and dismay we got information that PTI management organized a recruitment exercise at the David Ejoor Barracks Effurun. Our people were completely denied the opportunity of participating in the exercise”, Chief Onome stated.
In a letter dated 3rd July 2018, signed by both Chief Robert Onome, President General of Okpe Union Worldwide and Hon Harrison Ekeleme, President Okpe Youth Council and made available to newsmen, it stated: “This letter therefore serves to appeal and call for an urgent review of the whole exercise to enable our people benefit in compliance to the well-known Federal Government Policy that the recruitment of junior cadre should come from the host communities in the catchment area which is made of Okpe and Uvwie LGA.”
He explained that failure to heed to their demands after the end of the ultimatum in two weeks time, will lead to mass mobilization of their people to shut down the institution.
Chief Onome said he expected PTI Management to see reason and use the opportunity to address the brazen marginalization of Okpe people by the institution, failing which will lead to difficulty in restraining the youths who have been showing signs of taking unpleasant actions against the institution.
While speaking, Hon. Ekeleme President of Okpe Youth Council warned that “After the ultimatum PTI Management should be prepared for us because we can no longer tolerate this wickedness against Okpe People. In short we are going to shut down PTI.”
As at the time of writing this report an authoritative source confirmed the report that PTI Management has actually carried the recruitment exercise of junior staff with majority of those employed coming from a particular section of the non-oil producing area of the country.