BY Emma Amaize
WARRI—AN Ijaw organisation, Egbema Radical Group, ERG, which, last week, allegedly blew up the Dibi oil pipeline, operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, said, yesterday, that it never issued an ultimatum to attack Itsekiri people within 24 hours.
“We did not give the Itsekiri a 24-hour ultimatum. How can we do that? Itsekiri people are our brothers, we live in the same terrain in the Niger Delta. Our problem is that we have been oppressed for over 22 years by governments, both federal and state, and we want the matter to be addressed,” spokesman of the group, Amin Dada, said.
He added: “We gave 24 hours to Chevron, not Itsekiri, but we have relaxed it for dialogue to hold. However, we are not getting any signal that government is ready to address our grievances. We are not criminals as they tag us, we are fighting for our rights. Our agitation is that Ijaw people in Warri North are marginalised politically and we want some political space.”
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had, after the Didi pipeline attack, said that the state and Federal Governments would not be blackmailed by these acts, noting that “anyone with genuine grievance should channel such through the appropriate avenues and get them addressed, as government was ready to go after those using any reason to sabotage oil facilities.”
Reacting, ERG said: “After blowing up the Chevron pipeline to draw attention to our plight, our governor came out to talk about genuine agitation. His position was not clear to us. What we have said over the years is that we are being oppressed in Warri North and everybody is conversant with our plight. Is he saying that our agitation is not genuine?
“We call on Governor Uduaghan, who we have always supported and who is from the same Warri North like us, to address the problem of marginalisation of Ijaw people in the council. Since the creation of the council, only Itsekiri people have ruled as chairmen, representatives in the state House of Assembly and every other juicy office. Are Ijaw not human beings?
“The governor should address the problem now. Does he want to live it for his successor? He should not postpone the evil day because no election will take place in the area without the matter being sorted out.”