By Emma Amaize
GBARAMATUâ€”Youth Council in Delta State yesterday expressed concern that the economy of the Nigerian state would be crippled in the next few weeks as a result of the damage of the facilities of oil companies in the Niger Delta by militants.
Already, the production capacity of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Delta State has fallen to 10,000 barrels per day from the initial 100,000 bpd.
Militants are also targeting to blow up Forcados Export Terminal which, if successful, would bring production to zero.
Delta State government is seriously affected by the offensive, as it is already clear that its allocations will drop and even the Delta State Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) may also face cash crunch.
The council in a communiquÃ© issued at the end of a meeting in Warri, signed by its president, Engr. Kennedy Brake, and two others, the council blamed the Joint Task Force (JTF) for the sad turn of events, saying it gave the Federal Government a false impression that soldiers would be able to protect the facilities.
According to the council, â€œon Monday, July 7, our monitoring team returned from the creeks of Escravos and beyond and confirmed that in the next few weeks, the Nigerian state will not have a tin of crude oil to export or refine in the country because all the major oil facilities in the country have been crippled .
â€œThe Otunana trunk lines, pipelines, Makaraba pipelines, jackets, well-heads, Abitieye trun klines , pipelines, jackets, Dibi and Olero trunk lines, pipelines, wellheads, and even the Okan deep sea trunk line and pipelines have been sabotaged to the last core.
â€œThe same applies to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), all its trunk lines and pipelines have been sabotaged, leaving the oil operators with forced measures to evacuate from the Niger-Delta . That is why we deemed it necessary to call on the international communities once more to note and intervene.
â€œAll these are happening in the presence of the task force which boast on paper every day that they are equal to the task; we will fight to finish; we engaged them in gun battle; we will soon fish them out. If we may ask? Where was the task force who desecrated our homes in Gbaramatu kingdom when all the facilities were destroyed?
â€œRight now, Chevron cannot operate anymore because the militants have crippled all their facilities. Chevron is dying in silence because they [Chevron) think bringing armed troops to secure their facility is the best option, but now the militants have proven them wrong.
â€œThe true owners of the area are the best and qualified people to secure the oil facilities in the region rather than outsiders.â€
For the economy not to totally collapse, the youths called on President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to withdraw the JTF from the Niger Delta and implement the report of the Niger-Delta Technical Committee, headed by Mr. Ledum Mitee.