PANDEF Petitions Chevron Over Enslavement Of N’Delta Graduates

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Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the umbrella body of leaders and stakeholders of ethnic nationalities of Niger Delta, has written to Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), demanding a meeting over complaints that 151 graduates of the region that underwent the company’s Vocational Training Programme (VTP), were being used as bond (slave) labour, rather than given employment, three to four years after they concluded the programme.
The body, in a letter by the National Secretary, Dr Alfred Mulade to the Managing Director, Chevron, Mr Jeff Ewing said its intrusion was occasioned by an August 6 petition, entitled, “Marginalisation of Forced Labour of Host Community Graduates by Chevron Nigeria Limited,” sent to it by the aggrieved graduates from Ijaw, Itsekiri, Ilaje and other tribes of the region.
PANDEF urged the managing director to convene a meeting between the company, its representatives and the trainees “to enable us look into the matter with a view to resolving it before it gets out of hand.”
The letter read, “We are in receipt of a petition dated August 6, 2018, by the 31 coalition, a body comprising of Ijaw, Ilaje and Itsekiri graduates drawn from your host communities in Niger Delta and their colleagues from other parts of the region, who participated in the batches 5 and 6 of our Vocational Training Programme, otherwise referred to as VTP 5 and 6 of 101 and 50 trainees, respectively, totalling 151 graduates.
“The VTP 5 and 6 were engaged in March, 2013 and July, 2014, respectively, and mobilised for a training duration of 18 months, domiciled at Ogere Training Centre (OTC), Ogun State, and were expected to complete their training sessions by August, 2014 and 2015, respectively.
“The graduates having completed their respective trainings for the prescribed 18-month period are considered as level two technicians in mechanical maintenance, electrical instrumentation maintenance, process and health, environment and safety, but for about four years running, while compelling them to sign trainee/training contracts, they are being used as bonded labour with subtle threat of being dropped unilaterally should anyone raise his/her voice in defiance.”