Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro, Coordinator of the National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, NCNDEA, who is also the Coordinator, Urhobo Youths Forum for Change, UYFC, bares his mind to TUNDE OSO on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Presidential Amnesty Programme, the security of oil and gas pipeline facilities. Excerpts:
What is your view about the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP?
It’s a revolution that is ongoing and as I said before now, the choice of Col. Milland Dikio, is a perfect one by the President through the National Security Adviser. The good news should, however, not end with the appointment of an Interim Administrator.
Col. Dikio has a lot of internal cleansing to do because those derailed former coordinators are still very much around him and until he shows them the exit door, we won’t heave a sigh of relieve because there’s a cabal in the Amnesty Office that specialises in undermining the good of the beneficiaries of the programme for their personal interest.
There is a handful of persons in that office who are extremely corrupt and sleaze is infectious no matter how good intention the Coordinator may have. Look at the Reintegration Department and others.
The officials have been there through successive regimes but had remained there irrespective of several allegations of underhand dealings. They have survived all the same because the presidency hasn’t seen through the forensic audit done. It will therefore take a bold and Presidency-backed administrator to ensure these characters are thrown out of the office.
What do you think happened to the forensic audit of the Amnesty Programme?
After the sack of the former Coordinator and the subsequent probe of the activities of the programme, I called the NSA and he assured me that he was out to do his best for the benefit of the Niger Delta region and this I have seen.
In the appointment of Dikio, it’s a new dawn in the programme. The NSA should investigate the tenure of the former Coordinator.
ALSO READ: The Presidential Amnesty Programme
Another Niger Delta welfare programme, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is mired in graft allegations under an Interim Management Committee, IMC. What’s your comment?
I score the IMC zero. It is doing nothing other than the bidding of those who have chosen to perpetuate the corruption that has bedevilled that board since inception.
Does that body need IMC? No! IMC is a creation of politicians who want to take advantage of the forensic audit of the board to enrich themselves. We know the financials of most members before and now, they are millionaires.
What’s the way forward?
The President should dissolve the so-called IMC and inaugurate the substantive board that whose screening he applied for in the Senate and they were so screened and approved to takeover.
The Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba board should be immediately inaugurated for a better and stronger intervention agency for the development of our region.
As an ex-militant leader and CEO of Agimor Security Company Ltd, what’s your take on the reported explosion on the OML40 recently?
Well, OML40 is a property of the NNPC and its partners. They can better discuss what happened to it. But as for me, my concern is for OML30, which runs through Urhoboland and managed by Ocean Marines Solution.
What about OML30?
OML30 pipelines surveillance job was initially awarded to Eraskorp Nigeria Ltd before vested interests in the Presidency hijacked it for Ocean Marines Solution Ltd, OMSL.
On taking over the surveillance job, OMSL sacked all the ex-militants that were initially engaged and paid, then, gave the job to their choice of workers thereby leaving ex-militants who fought for the good of the region in limbo.
Since then, have the ex-militants had meeting(s) with the management of OMSL to sort out the situation?
Yes, several meetings were initiated by a coalition of ex-militants. The military task force in the region advised the management and presidency also intervened but that company stuck to its guns and now, I read about the organisation asking ex-militants to liaise with community President Generals for succour.
How else can ex-militants be insulted? For how long can we bear this calculated attempt to disempower a former warrior who the surveillance contracts possible in the first place? Must ex-militants be always goaded into making trouble? No!
What’s the way forward?
The way forward is that on no account should the ex-militants be subjugated to community PGs because we operate at different levels. OMSL should call a roundtable meeting and give jobs to the ex-militants because none of us will go meet any PG but we usually have our own way of resolved issues like this.
At the right time, the people of Nigeria will hear from us if OMSL refuses to do the needful. When Eraskorp Nigeria Ltd. was handling the surveillance contract, everyone was carried along but this that was brought in to hijack the contract jettison all of that.
Also, the surveillance companies should engage their workers especially ex-militants favourably along ethnic lines. An urhobo man should be allowed to protect oil and gas facilities in his domain, the same goes for other ethnic nationalities. You cannot know Isoko land more than an indigenous Isoko man.