BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
Protesters numbering over 100 people stormed Odukpani junction, Calabar in Cross River state to register their protest against the involvement of India and China based Construction companies in haulage activity seeking their immediate exit.
The protesters are members of the Association of Dump Truckers, Cross River state chapter.
The demand immediate exit of China, India based companies for allegedly involved in Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 Act No. 2 (i.e.the “Local Content Act”) and pushing Nigerian youths into joblessness.
Speaking to newsmen, the National Chairman of the Association Of Dump Truckers, Mr. Michael Asuquo, explained that, “the essence of our protest is on the account of foreigners coming to take over our business. We are here to tell Nigerians that enough is enough; The Chinese nationals in Nigeria have come to take over haulage activities in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
“Starling Oil and Gas are in Nigeria for Oil and Gas activities, but today they have come to import over 400 Trucks; after deceiving us to take loans from the banks and buy trucks we operated for just two months and they stopped us without notice and the following week they brought in 400 trucks to take over haulage activities.”
“There was an agreement between the Association and Starling Oil and Gas, that we are going to handle haulage of granite activities. But after giving us commitment to go and procure more trucks, they stopped us and brought in their own trucks to take over operation against our agreement on local content Law, he noted”.
Also speaking, Comrade Safe Akene, Vice Chairman of the association, added that haulage is a cottage industry and not a technical industry. So when you bring in foreign nationals you cause unemployment for us. That is what we are avoiding. Foreigners coming in and deciding to do everything means they have something to hide. And we cannot allow foreigners to come in here and do jobs like Vulcanizing jobs, writing invoices, we don’t want it,” he said”.
The protest, our Correspondent reports had led to very severe gridlock at the Odukpani Junction along the Ikom Calabar Federal Highway, causing traffic jam.