The Mayor of Urhoboland, Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro, has urged the presidency and all security agencies in the country to correct the alleged lopsidedness in the distribution of the oil pipelines surveillance contract awarded to selected individuals in the Niger Delta region to the exclusion of the Urhobo nation.
Akpodoro, who is also an ex-militant leader of note, stated that the call was meant to bring the attention of the Nigerian authority to the marginalisation of the people of Urhoboland, who he noted were deliberately schemed out of the contract awards for reasons best known to those who awarded the contracts particularly the security of OML 30 and OML34 adding that unless the Federal government review and accommodate vested interests in the contract awards, peace may elude the fragile Niger Delta region.
The Gbaregolor Ughelli South-born ex-militant leader, who has handled severally issues of security in the region, argued that the ex-militants on whose shoulders the struggle for the betterment of the region lies should have been considered first before awarding it along partisan interests, whom he accused of using same to bait support from the youths of the region.
Those to whom the statements were addressed included the National Security Adviser to the President, Babangana Monguno, the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of State for Petroleum and former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva; the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Lucky Irabor and the group Managing director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari.
Other recipients of the letter included: the Director General of Department of State Security , Yusuf Bichi; the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba; the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo; Lt. General Farouk Yahaya, Chief Defence Intelligence, Major General Adebayo and others.
Akpodoro maintained that the Urhobo nation is a critical component of the Nigerian State and a major stakeholder in the Niger Delta project, who should be considered first in the award of such contract.
He explained that OML 30 and OML34 lie within Urhoboland, which he noted hosts the Otorogun Gas Plant, the largest in West Africa and with these attributes, he stressed, were enough to earn his nation a major stake in the surveillance contract awards.
He congratulated ex-militants of other extractions who won the contracts as he decried alleged poor attitude of the government towards Urhobo concerns stating that no ex-militant have the interest of the region at heart than himself representing the people of Urhobo nation.
Akpodoro’s letter is coming amidst agitations by other ethnic nationalities in the Delta for a better deal in the distribution of the surveillance contracts. One of the nationalities included the Ndokwa nation through the Ndokwa Neku Union, NNU, Isoko Youths and others who are aggrieved over the development.
For the records, Akpodoro stated that he was deeply involved in the disarmament of the ‘recalcitrant ex-militants’ at the declaration of the Amnesty Programme by the FG; he was also handy during the renewed insurgency by the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA as he worked with the Nigerian military to restore peace to the region these he noted happened while most stakeholders played the ostrich during the onslaught on the nation’s oil wealth.
According to the Mayor: “awarding the surveillance contracts to politically exposed persons in the region, while ex-militants and major ethnic groups were sidelined is an invitation to anarchy and we don’t want the government to pitch us against one another. There’s peace in the region and we want it to remain so. This government must learn to reward loyalty and stop playing games with us.
“How can we work tirelessly for a government that does not have our interest at heart? How possible was it for a government to sideline a whole nation of over 800,000 registered voters and think there won’t be reactions. Urhobo nation has been beaten severally and this is the only way we can cry. I call for review of the contracts to accommodate others who are badly treated,” Akpodoro stated.