By Emma Amaize
WARRI—THE Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, yesterday, advised Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to drop its alleged plan to relocate from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to Lagos, saying that such movement could stir up the restiveness in the Niger Delta.
It also called on the military high command to initiate a thorough investigation into the remote and immediate circumstances surrounding the death of the late Rear Admiral Ikoli, one of the shining lights of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the Nigerian Navy.
The militant group, said: “We use this opportunity to warn that we shall reconsider our unilateral ceasefire of May 30, 2014, if SPDC relocates to Lagos.”
The statement said: “We are alarmed over media reports of the planned or rumoured relocation of SPDC back to Lagos from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. If it is true, we urge SPDC to shelve the idea as the move has the likely consequence of reawakening restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
“Quite apart from the massive loss of job opportunities, taxes and other incentives the planned move would cause in the medium to short term, it is clear to all stakeholders, including the Federal Government, that such a move is ill-advised, especially against the backdrop of the recent directive from the Federal Government to the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to relocate to their areas of operation in the Niger Delta.
“To be sure, the Niger Delta region is no longer hostile to the business interests of the IOCs, including SPDC, as peace has since returned to the area, following the efforts of MEND, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the various state governments, as well as the Federal Government. There is, therefore, no reason for SPDC to relocate back to Lagos.”
On the death of Rear Admiral Ikoli, it said: “Finally, and on a sad note, Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli’s death in Lagos on April 5, 2017 is suspicious and unfortunate. Death is an inevitable end for all mortals but our suspicion is fed by conflicting reports surrounding the circumstances of his death.
“We are, therefore, calling on the Nigerian military high command to initiate a thorough investigation into the remote and immediate circumstances surrounding the death of the late Rear Admiral who was one of the shining lights of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the Nigerian Navy.”