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Imo women shutdown oil firm’s activities over refusal to pay burial expenses

After one day of staying off work, tanker drivers suspend strike

Aggrieved women in Imo State have shut Sterling Global Oil Company for reneging on an alleged agreement to pay for the burial rites of three persons killed by the firm’s security van.

The women, who are from Mmahu autonomous community in Egbema/Ohaji council area of the state, shut the Indian-owned firm months after it refused to pay for the burial rites of the three community members.

The three victims, Mike Imo, Abel Chioma and a woman, whose name was not given were involved in an accident with a security van of the company, driven by some military personnel escorting a tanker loaded with crude oil, out of the village on Saturday March 8, 2020.

While Mike Imo and Abel Chioma were crushed to death on the spot, the woman was said to have died later in a hospital as a result of the injuries she sustained.

On March 9, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma was said to have visited the community to commiserate with the family members of the victims.

Read also: Wanted murder suspect arrested in Imo

During that visit, some youths in the area were said to have even smashed the rear windshield of the governor’s official car in protest of the death of their kinsmen.

The governor, notwithstanding the treatment meted out to him, was said to have still brokered agreement between the community and the company.

It was learnt that the agreement was for Sterling Global oil to pay the families of the deceased the sum of N20 million for burial rites.

However, more than two months after the said agreement, the Indian oil company refused to fulfill its part of the bargain.

This, it was learnt, left some aggrieved women with no option than to besieged the company last Monday, and force it to shut its operation in the community until the fees for the burial rites were fully paid.

Ezinne Abigail Chimaokwu, who spoke for the women, said they were unhappy about the gruesome killing of three of their illustrious children by the security trucks belonging to the Sterling Global Oil Company.

“These trucks with armed security men who killed our sons and daughter for sometime now, and also have refused to pay the death rites of N20M as agreed with the governor of the state who have appealed to us to accept the little token and bury the deceased.

“We can not bury the deceased persons because of the traditional demands which must be perfected to enable them commence their burial process else they won’t be lowered to the great beyond,” she said.

She said they decided to shut the company and block all the roads leading to it to ensure the death rites were paid.

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Chimaokwu vowed that the women would besiege the place until the right thing was done.

The army commander in charge of the area M.S. Akabi, addressing the women expressed surprise that the company had not paid the death rites.

While he sympathised with the women, he assured them of their security if they desist from destroying property in their protest.

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