By Festus Ahon & Akpokona Omafuaire
CLAIMING that the Federal Government has not started addressing the various problems caused by crude oil production in the Niger Delta region, four militant groups have asked oil companies in the region to suspend production until the conclusion of dialogue with the government, warning of dire consequences should the oil firms fail to heed their warning.
Giving the warning, yesterday, four militant groups, Adaka Boro Avengers, Niger Delta Creek Warriors, Ogunuma Camp of Niger Delta and Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, also asked the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, to stop negotiating for the region claiming that nothing had come out from its efforts so far.
The groups spoke as some communities in Delta State vowed to resist the handover of OML 30 oil block to a new operator just as another community in the state gave the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, a 21-day ultimatum to address alleged marginalization of the area in the operations of OML 42.
In a statement by self-styled General Edmos Ayayeibo (Adaka Boro Avengers), General Woi Izon-Ebi (Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders), General Christ Etarotu (Niger Delta Creek Warriors) and General Akpaingolo Yins (Ogunuma Camp of Niger Delta), on behalf of agitators in the region, the groups said: ‘’The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken the people of the Niger Delta region as blind people. The Niger Delta region has been ripped off. Up till now, none of the demands of the Niger Delta people to the Presidency has been implemented. The Vice President who toured the Niger Delta region has not fulfilled any of the promises he made. Our resources are being used to finance projects in the North and West. Up till now, our boys are still in the custody of the Federal Government, detained without trial. Several Niger Delta activists and agitators, like Alex Odogu, Ebiware, Aboy Muturu, Bounanaowei Smith, Ezekiel Daniel, Monday Ebimene and Churchill Oghoneye are still being detained by the Federal Government.’’
Insisting that the recent tour by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the region was a political jamboree because he did not see areas that need to be developed, they said: ‘’Why did the acting President not tour the oil producing communitíes to see how these people are suffering. The people need good roads, railway, water, good hospitals and jobs. What has the Federal Government done to the black carbon emissions emanating from oil companies? Right from the ceasefire agreement reached by the various agitators in the Niger Delta and the Federal Government on the ground that the Federal Government will set up a dialogue committee, up till now the Federal government has no plan to set up any dialogue process.
‘’For reasons stated above, we hereby call on all the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to cease operation for now in their own interest. They should cease operation forthwith until matters of the Niger Delta region are addressed. We also call on PANDEF to hands off issues of the Niger Delta region because nothing tangible has been achieved by PANDEF in its mediation with the Federal Government on behalf of the Niger Delta region.”
and the . We, the Niger Delta Agitators have lost confidence in PANDEF. We only nominated Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark to have talks with Federal government on behalf of the agitators and not hungry chiefs. Henceforth, the PANDEF or whosoever is parading themselves as mediators should desist from matters of the Niger Delta. We know what to do to liberate our people. Soon the Federal government of Nigeria will set up the dialogue process without any one forcing them to do so, they will set up the dialogue process by themselves, they will beg to dialogue with the agitators.’’
Delta communities vow to resist handover of OML 30 to new operator
Meanwhile, the people of oil producing communities under the aegis of Community Development Board, CDC, and Community Representatives Committee, CRC, in Delta State, weekend, vowed to resist moves to handover of the Oil Miling Lease, OML, 30 to a third party without recourse to them.
While accusing the management of Heritage Energy Oil Services Limited, operators of OML 30 of sidelining them, they called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter to avoid the breakdown of law and order.
The people, in a communiqué signed by the OML 30 CDC Chairman, Mr Morris Idiovwa, Secretary, Esibe Joshua and 19 others, which was copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Delta State Governor, lamented that the activities of oil companies operating in their land had caused discontent and acrimony that could truncate the existing peace in the area.
They said: “Our people were deceived by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and later on by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC and while we were trying to adjust to the situation on ground, the operatorship of the oil bloc was signed to Heritage Energy Oil Services Limited without our knowledge. While trying to know what was going on, we now learned that Heritage has handed over operatorship to yet another unknown company, SALVTC, an oil firm registered in 2015 and owned by Dr ABC Orjiako, the owner of Seplat and this was also done without our knowledge.”
They noted that OML 30 was one of the biggest onshore oil blocs in Africa and 10th largest in the world with its footprint in 10 out of the 25 local government areas in Delta state with nine flow stations and a pumping station in Ughelli and the Trans-Forcados pipeline with capacity to produce over 250,000 bpd.
Continuing, they said; “With divide and rule strategy SPDC is known for by engaging our people against themselves 50 years ago, we have come to reality and to say enough is enough. We wish to put it on record that Heritage has started badly by engaging a non Deltan as Community Relation/Security Consultant in a region he knows nothing about, using one Mr. Von Kemedi and Mr. Hef to destabilize OML 30.
OML 42: Delta community hands NPDC 21 days ultimatum over marginalization
In like manner, the Kunukunuma federated community of Gbaramatu Kingdom, host to OML 42 flow station in Warri South West Council Area of Delta State, has given the NPDC, 21 days ultimatum within which to address the issue of alleged marginalization.
The community handed down the ultimatum, weekend, during a peaceful protest in the community.
The community vowed to shut down the flow station at the end of the 21 days should the company fail to address the vexed issue.
The protesters led by Chief Moses Bebenimibo, community chairman, chanted war songs as they danced round the community.
Bebenimibo, who addressed journalists during the protest, lamented that NPDC has denied them rights and privileges they hitherto enjoyed during Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, operation of OML 42.
According to him, “Kunukunuma Federated Community was recognized by SPDC as one of her hosts and as such has been receiving host benefits in terms of rights and privileges. The community enjoys both primary, secondary and post secondary scholarships benefit from SPDC over the years during the period the SPDC was operating OML 42 on behalf of NNPC.’’
He said the community would have shut down NPDC flow station during the weekend but for the timely intervention of the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Ogboro-Gbaruan II who pleaded with them to sheathe their swords.
Others who spoke included the Youth President, Mr. Bernard Okirika, Capt. Friday Denkeden, Woman leader, Queen Ezor, Elder Clement Aruwei and bacor Malemi.