By Emma Arubi
WARRI — FIVE thousand pipeline surveillance job slots intended for former militants to secure oil facilities in Delta State has pitched former militants in the state against one another, even as members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Urhobo chapter, have vowed to make the state ungovernable if the job slots allotted to them were not increased and given to militant leaders of the area for distribution.
They have also warned a former militant, ‘General’ Akpodoro, to desist from further parading himself as an executive member of the group, since he lost out in an election last January to ‘General’ Collins Arigo and advised all government and other relevant stakeholders to desist from dealing with him.
The former militants, led by Augustine Ogedegbe, Collins Arigo, Abraham Vwanghe and Ebi Onoyeta, who staged a peaceful protest to Vanguard, weekend, with placards of varrious inscriptions, said that the Niger Delta struggle was not an Ijaw and Itsekiri affair alone, adding that the 200 surveillance job slots of the alleged 5,000 slots given to the Urhobo group was too little and had been handed over to non-militants to handle, who distributed it to their cronies to the detriment of genuine former militants.
They have, therefore, charged their leaders and a government official in the state Waterways Security Committee, Ogedegbe, to prevail on the state Governor, Dr. Uduaghan, to act fast by intervening in the looming crisis by correcting the anomaly or they would resort to self help to draw the necessary attention to their marginalisation. They vowed not to accept Ogedegbe’s further pleas.
They insisted that the Federal Government gesture was for all militants irrespective of tribe and wondered why the Urhobo group who also formed a major key at Tompolo’s camp should be unjustly treated in this matter.
But Chairman of the State Waterways Security Committee and Niger Delta youth activist, Mr. Ayiri Emami told Vanguard that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, awarded the said pipeline surveillance contract to a group of companies owned by some persons and not on tribal bases. He stated that it was out of being their brothers’ keepers that some slots were given to some persons of Urhobo extraction in the struggle.
According to him, “that show of magnanimity should not result in any protest as it is currently regenerating because the owners of the various companies awarded the job were at liberty to employ anybody of their choice” and expressed worry that the even NNPC is querying why the surveillance contract job was being ethnicised.