Groups noted for militancy in the nine Niger Delta States have agreed to give their full support to the General Officer Commanding, GOC, Niger Delta Struggle, Government Ekpemupolo, popular for the alias, Tompolo, including the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).
They threatened to shut down major oil stations, wells and crude delivery lines of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in the region. This can be said to be a reaction to President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to mandate Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to inaugurate the substantive Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Akpabio, who was said to be complicit in the delay of the board’s constitution was berated, not even when he doubles as a Niger Deltan. Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters, an umbrella body of some Niger Delta militants, released a statement through the office of the Commanding Officer, one Commander Agadagba Obus (Thunder).
The statement was in the form of a warning to the federal government. In his words, “If the federal government refuses to inaugurate the NDDC board within the seven day ultimatum already declared by Tompolo, then we will have no choice than to join hands with him, IYC and other agitating militant groups in the creeks to shut down oil exploration activities on all flow stations in the region.
“The Escravos-Warri to Kaduna NNPC major delivery crude line; Escravos-Lagos atlas core delivery line; Trans Excravos Warri-Kaduna gas line that supplies electricity to Abuja will not be spared and also the Trans-Forcados 48-inch terminal underwater shell/NNPC crude delivery pipeline with most of the Chevron RMP24 Clough creek line will all he brought to standstill if Akpabio refuses to lay off his hands and allow the Federal government to inaugurate the NDDC board.”
Agadagba reiterated that “The presidency and the federal government should hold Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, and the Sole Administrator of NDDC, Effiong Akwa, responsible for whatever happens at the end of the seven-day ultimatum in the creeks of the region.”
“We want to make it clear that with the way things are going, President Buhari, who was elected to provide good governance to answer the welfare and betterment of Niger Delta people and Nigerians at large, cannot fold his hands, keep quiet and allow so-called corrupt minded politicians from the region to push him against the wish of the people in the region.
These and many other anti-people decisions are frustrating the tireless peace efforts made by some political leaders like the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo Agege, and other stakeholders that have worked tirelessly to achieve sustainable peace in the creeks and now being jettisoned by the greed of just one man with a false pretence of Forensic Audit and not good intention for the people of Niger Delta.”
The Agitators further berated the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Millano Dikkio. They said he cannot prevent them from going about their planned action, nor can he stop them, not even when the Forensic Audit had been devised to deprive them of their dues. The agitating groups range from ESAN to UYFC.
Henry Okpamen and Cyril Odiboh, Coordinator and General Secretary of ESAN respectively, while addressing newsmen harped on the people-centered reason for the constitution of the board by the government of Olusegun Obasanjo. It was created owing to the cry and agitation of the region over the huge deficit in infrastructure and other basic life’s demands.
“What is more troubling and surprising is the fact that Akpabio, who has continued to frustrate every effort to set up the NDDC board in line with the laws setting it up is from Niger Delta. We call on our political leaders, traditional rulers, opinion leaders, youth groups, student organisations and other critical stakeholders in the region to speak up against this grave injustice that is being meted out to Niger Delta people.”
ESAN on its own subscribes to the Forensic Audit.