By Edem Darlington
Youths of Odukpani local government area are currently protesting at the premises of a construction firm, Sematech Nigeria limited.
The company is one of the two construction companies recently awarded contract by the federal government to re-construct the dilapidated Calabari-Itu road.
The youths numbering several hundreds blocked the gates of the company with a traditional injunction, effectively halting work at the company facility located along Mberebere village along the busy Odukpani road.
They accused the company of failing to pay compensation to members of the community despite destroying their houses, farmlands and other sources of survival.
A youth leader in the community, Ita Asuquo accused the company of failing to respect all agreements with the community.
“it is so sad that the company does not regard us, the host community where their company is situated. They sack our people at will. All the agreement we had before they began the job, they have not done anyone. We are peace loving people and have tried to talk to them to no avail. This action is like the last option for us”
This paper also learnt that while Julius Berger have fulfilled almost all agreements with their host community, Sermatech is allegedly yet to fulfill any.
Another youth leader who spoke with our reporter said Sermatech lacked the competence and community engagement skill to manage the host community.
Youth leader of Ikot Offiong and Chairman Odukpani youth combined council, Mr. Ekanem Bassey Asuquo told The Parchment that they are determined to ensure their rights are met before they leave.
“while Julius Berger had since paid the first phase of the compensation to members of the communities they were assigned to work and are even on the second phase. Sermatech a supposed indigenous company are yet to even commence any form of compensation. We will not allow them to continue until they pay all compensations. They will employ our children in the morning in the evening they will sack them”
The youths who also accused the state controller of works Bassey Nsetip, a federal controller of works and demanded for his sack.
The company is yet to respond to the demands of the youth as at the time of filling this report and have also refused speaking with the press.