- Threaten To Attack Oil Installations…
The already-battered Nigerian economy may further take a plunge should the federal government continue to remain adamant to the threats by ex-agitators in the Niger Delta to attack oil installations over failure to inaugurate the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This is as the Supreme Egbesu freedom Fighters and other agitators in the region have expressed support for the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, (aka Tompolo) over the 7-day ultimatum he gave to the Nigerian government.
The group threatened not to only attack oil installations in the Niger Delta creeks, but to also hit at targets in the nation’s capital, Abuja and Lagos.
The New Diplomat had reported that Tompolo had handed down a 7-day ultimatum to the Buhari-led federal government to inaugurate a substantive board of the NDDC.
The threat issued by Tompolo followed the earlier 30-day ultimatum issued by the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, which had expired on May 25. The IYC has since taken position to block the East-West road as well as barricade the entrance into the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
In a statement issued via electronic mail at the end of an emergency meeting conveyed by the self-styled Commanding officer, Agadagba I Obus (aka Thunder) on Monday, the group vowed to attack Trans-Nembe-Bonny Creek crude pipeline through a combined and coordinated operation code-named “SHUTDOWN OIL FLOW STATIONS & PIPELINES 4 NDDC BOARD INAUGURATION.”
The Egbesu fighters called on President Buhari to, as a matter of security concern and for the interest of peace and economic stability order the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, to remove their hands from the operation of the NDDC and allow the presidency inaugurate the board without further delay.
“On this note the Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters group and the other agitating militant groups in the Creek urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC federal government, as a matter of security concern and for the interest of peace and economic stability immediately call the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio and his cohorts, to lay off their hands and let the presidency quickly call for the inauguration of the NDDC board without any further delay in the interest of peace in the Niger Delta region and in the overall interest of the country.
“And if Akpabio and his gang of corrupt-minded fellows or cronies refuse to yield to this noble piece of advice and still go against the common interest of the Niger Delta people by deciding to continue to hold the entire Niger Delta region to ransom, the Presidency and the federal government should hold Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and his cousin, the Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa, responsible.
“We want to make it clear that with the way things are going President Buhari who was elected to provide good governance for the welfare and betterment of the Niger Delta people and Nigerians at large, will refuse to do the needful by taking drastic stand and listening to the cry of the generality of the Niger Delta people.
“The corrupt minded politicians from the region including the ministers representing the region are all in support of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for not advising Mr President to call Akpabio to order and inaugurate the NDDC board in the interest of peace in the region before things will take a new turn, because everybody know the fragile nature the Niger Delta region.
“These and many other anti-people tendencies and divisive decisions is frustrating the tireless peace efforts initiated by some political leaders such as the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo Agege, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, His Royal Majesty, King Alfred P. Diete-Spiffis, Chief wellington Okrika and some well meaning stakeholders from the region who have worked tirelessly to achieve this existing fragile peace in the Creek of the region may be jettisoned by the greed of Mr. Akpabio with a fake forensic audit that is not of any good intention for the good people of the Niger Delta region.”
“We have identified targets to include the Escravos-Warri to Kaduna NNPC major delivery crude line, the Escravos Lagos atlas cove delivery line and the Trans Escravos Warri Kaduna gas line that supply electricity to Abuja will not be spared and there will be no gas supply for electricity in Abuja, Lagos Kaduna and the Northern part of the country also the Trans Forcados 48-inches terminal underwater shell/NNPC crude delivery pipeline with most of the Chevron RMP24 Clough creek line will all be brought to stand still in the wake of this 7 days ultrasound.
“On this note, the Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters group and the other agitating militant groups in the creek urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC (All Progressives Congress) federal government, as a matter of security concern and for the interest of peace and economic stability immediately call the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio and his cohorts to lay off their hands and let the presidency quickly call for the inauguration of the NDDC board without any further delay for the interest of peace in the Niger Delta region and for the overall interest of the country.
“And if Akpabio and gang of corrupt-minded fellows of cronies refuse to yield to this noble piece of advice and still go against the common interest of the Niger Delta people and decide to continue to hold the entire Niger Delta region to ransom and refuse to let go of the grid of refusal and opposed to the inauguration of the NDDC board which means whatever that will be the fall out of this in the creek on before the expiration of this fresh one week ultimatum in alliance with the Tompolo one week declaration, this will lead to shutting down of this major crude flow stations and NNPC major crude oil delivery pipelines in the specific targeted locations in the creek then SEFFM should to be blamed rather all the blames and the economic woes should be channeled to Mr. Akpabio and his fellow corrupt minded cronies at the presidency.
“The presidency and the federal government should hold Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and his cousin, the sole Administrator of the NDDC, Mr. Effiong Akwa responsible and therefore whatever that befalls in the creek of the region, the supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters and the other agitating militant groups should not be held responsible.
Analysts have envisaged that the effects of attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta at this critical moment, will not only spell doom for the nation’s fragile economy, but is also capable of creating a leeway for insecurity to creep into the creeks which, hitherto, have been relatively peaceful.
Speaking with The New Diplomat on phone, a Bayelsa-based Community Leader and business man, Chief Alaowei Peremei, called on the federal government to show concern on the threats from various stakeholders from the Niger Delta, and urgently inaugurate the board of the NDDC, adding that the heightening tones of the youths across the region is an indication that there is a general apathy against the actions of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio over the manner he is handling the affairs of the board.
He noted that if the youths are allowed to make good their threats, it will be very difficult to halt them, adding that it will present an opportunity for several associated criminalities especially in areas such as crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“I think it is time the federal government showed concern about the increasing threats to peace and tranquility that have been prevailing in the Niger Delta. Any opportunity for the boys to make good their threat to oil operation in the Niger Delta creeks is likely to create more harrowing effect on the fragile nation’s economy.
“Not only the economy that will be adversely affected, the insecurity that has been pervading the other parts of the country will creep into the creek and criminals will cash on it to wreck havoc on the people”, Peremei said.
Chief Melford Idiahe from Odidi Community in Warri South West Local Government Area, while interacting with The New Diplomat in Okerenkoko recently, also called on the federal government to urgently inaugurate the board of the NDDC which the Senate has already confirmed to prevent the planned attack on oil operations in the area.
According to him, “inspite of the insecurity and the dwindling economy in the country, the federal government is still managing because oil is still flowing and they are still selling crude oil.
“Any disruption to the oil activities in the Niger Delta at this time will increase the suffering of Nigerians and criminalities will increase.”
It is not still clear if the federal government will cave in to the 7-days ultimatum and inaugurate the NDDC board or wait for the action contemplated by the ex-agitators.
Attempts to get the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to respond to the various threats from the Niger Delta have so far proved abortive.