By Davies Iheamnachor, PORT HARCOURT
The new militant group in Rivers State, Bayan-Men, have blown up another oil facility belonging to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, at Obosi area of Omoku, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
This is coming at the expiration of the 24 hours ultimatum earlier handed Agip by the aggrieved group Sunday.
A source in the area said the aggrieved agitators blew up Onosi-Ogu Manifold owned by the firm at Obosi, adding that the heavy sound of the explosion caused panic in the area.
The source also said that Agip had not been able to put out the fire of last week’s attack, calling on Agip to engage the aggrieved youths.
The militant group in a statement, on Wednesday, owned up to the attack, noting that it was acting as a result of the injustice against the Omoku people.
The statement signed by General Agaba, the General of Bayan-Men, stated that it would carry out more attacks on Agip facilities if the firm does not retrace its step and engage the communities of Omoku directly.
Agaba in the statement said: “The action we carried out is as a result of Agip’s failure to comply with the 24 hours ultimatum we handed to them to engage our people on how to commence dealing directly with individual communities order than through individuals.
“We are not criminals, we are intellectuals. The fact is that when a man is pushed to the wall, he bounces back with double force.
“We are giving Agip another seven days to open windows of negotiation with the 27 communities of Omoku clan.
“This meeting will involve the chiefs of these communities, the CDC (Community Development Committee) chairmen of the Communities and the Youths Presidents of the 27 communities. That is how we want it.
“We don’t want it in anybody’s parlour, we want it at the Civic Centre where everybody will come.
“The reason we want to soft pedal now is because the appeals from different quarters and our Nchaka festival that is coming up in Sunday.
“We don’t want anything to affect our festival.”
He expressed regrets over the interference of the military in the development, adding that group was interested in justice for their people.
Agaba said: “We are surprised at the level of interference by the military and DSS who are in charge of the federal government facility.
“They are supposed to maintain law and order.
“The federal government had advised them (Agip) to deal with the different communities independently. Why are the security men taking side with the company?
“They come, take money and subvert justice. What we want is justice. You can’t come to my community and take the land and leave me hungry.
“We have heard that Agip has sent military to put out the fire, but they have not been able to do that. It is now or never.”