Some Delta youths on Thursday, staged a protest at the headquarters of Seplat Energy Plc in Lagos State, demanding the removal of the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the company, Mr. Roger Brown within one week over alleged racism and intimidation of the host community.
The protesters, beside the sacking of the company’s CEO, also demanded for the sacking of the company’s board chairman, Mr. Basl Omiyi, and his members for their alleged complicit role in bullying the company’s host community in Delta State.
Desmond Okpako, the youths’ leader, who read the demands of the group at the company’s headquarters in Lagos, threatened that failure by the company to comply with the demands would lead to picketing of Seplat’s operations.
The youths displayed placard with different inscriptions which read: ‘Roger Brown stop intimidation of Nigerians’, ‘Well done minister of interior for coming to our rescue’, ‘Respect our community leaders’, ‘Roger Brown must go no room for racism’, ‘Seplat Board of Roger stop all the lies obey court order’, and ‘Stop bullying of Community Staff,” among others.
According to Okpako, “The Delta Youths for Justice and youths of Seplat host community have been forced to make this release to the general public due to non-compliance to Court’s order. Seplat must sack Mr Roger Brown, Mr Basl Omiyi and his board members for promoting racism, discrimination, bullying and intimidation of staff, especially, Community Staff.
“Our attention has been drawn to the good decision of the Minister of Interior to cancel Mr. Roger Brown’s work permit. Instead of obeying this nobel decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Mr Omiyi and his board of directors announced a vote of confidence for a racist foreigner who is a mere employee. Mr Omiyi and his board should be ashamed of themselves for telling Mr Roger Brown to continue working without work permit. They should obey a valid court order.
“The Staff of Seplat who have been intimidated and frustrated have decided to go to social media to vent their anger. Roger’s atrocities in Seplat are trending on social media yet Mr Omiyi is busy conspiring with the board and management to frustrate the sacking of the racist CEO, Mr Roger Brown.
“Our communities and the youths of Delta State have been very cooperative with Seplat but we have been neglected. Our graduates are Okada riders and jobless while we produce most of the oil for Seplat. It has gotten worse under Roger Brown and Mr Omiyi. They do not respect our Kings and communities.”
The protesters insisted that Seplat must sack Roger Brown immediately and also sack Omiyi and the board for alleged support for racism.
However, the company has debunked all allegations leveled against it through a statement signed by board chairman, Omiyi.
Seplat Energy noted that since Mr. Brown became CEO in 2020, Nigerian nationals have been appointed to the company’s most important positions, including Chairman, Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating officer.
The company’s statement partly read: “The Board believes these allegations are a spurious and vindictive reaction to the Board’s enforcement of corporate governance standards and a determination to continue to uphold their fiduciary duties and loyalty to the Company.
“The Board of Seplat Energy has unanimously passed a vote of confidence in Mr Brown as the CEO.”
The company affirmed that it would continue to maintain its operational excellence and act in line with the best corporate governance standards.