- Ex-militants’ group give oil firms 14-day eviction notice
- Utorogu Liberation Movement threatens to attack Delta gas plant
A group of former Niger Delta militants have issued a 14-day ultimatum to oil companies operating in Ekpeyeland to leave the area or face massive vandalisation of their assets. Their announcement came just as another new group, Utorogu Liberation Movement issued threat to attack West Africa’s biggest gas plant, Otorogu Gas Plant in Udu and Ughelli South council Areas of Delta State.
The former, Ekpeye Liberation Group, made up of ex-militants who claimed to be behind the attack on Well 5 in Akara Olu, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, explained that the eviction notice was due to the oil companies’ refusal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Ekpeye communities.
They expressed dissatisfaction over the alleged nonchalant attitude by the oil firms to the killings and kidnapping in the Ekpeyeland.
A statement yesterday signed by the spokesman of the group, Obodo Obodo, identified the oil firms as Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources.
It added that though Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited had signed one MoU with the communities, the agreement had been violated with impunity.
“The Ekpeye Liberation Group, a forum of ex-militants and freedom agitators from the Ekpeye Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State (Part of the Niger Delta), is utterly disappointed with the conduct of the oil multinational companies operating in the area.
“In the light of their nonchalant, including lukewarm attitude to the massive killings and kidnappings of our people in recent times, the Ekpeye Liberation Group has been forced to issue a notice of eviction to all oil companies operating in Ekpeye territory and its waters.
“They (oil companies) are required to pack out of Ekpeyeland within 14 days, from Thursday 16th of June or face massive vandalisation of their assets. A stitch in time saves nine,” the group said.
Explaining that their attack on oil facilities will further affect the nation’s already limping economy, the ex-fighters warned the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to give the people of Ekpeye their due recognition
Utorogu Liberation Movement
DESPITE federal government’s ceasefire order to allow for dialogue with rampaging Niger Delta militants, another militant group, Utorogu Liberation Movement, yesterday announced its birth, threatening to attack West Africa’s biggest gas plant, Otorogu Gas Plant in Udu and Ughelli South council Areas of Delta State.
ULM also threatened to blow up oil facilities along the Oil Mining Lease 34 and other oil facilities in the upland parts of the Niger Delta.
The group in a banner message issued by Gen. K. Omovudu and others which was erected near the Motor Park in Out-Jeremi, headquarters of Ughelli South council, also declared support for the Niger Delta Avengers.
Utorogu Gas Plant is Nigeria’s biggest plant which fields the Egbin Power Station, Lagos and others in the country.
A community source who drew the attention of our correspondent to the emergence of the group said the people of the area were already living in confusion and fear.
But the group in their banner mission statement said, “My good people of Utorogun community, Otu-Jeremi, Otor-Udu, Iwkrekan, Ekakpamre and all oil and pipeline communities within this region, this is the voice of ULM in collaboration with outgas force.
“It is a secessionist move. The awareness of things happening in our environment is a means to outline our course of action. The awareness is an agitation for economic balance. We have a common enemy, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC and ND Western who hate your progress and wish you die in poverty.”
A military source confirmed knowledge of the group to our correspondent. The source added that residents brought the development to their attention on yesterday morning.
However, an ex-militant and President of National Coalition for Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, NCNDE-A, Israel Akpodoro, has condemned the proposed Federal Government dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers and other splinter militant groups in the region.
Akpodoro in a statement issued in Warri said if the FG should dialogue with the members of the NDA, it meant it was indirectly in dialogue with ex-militant leader, Mr Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) whom he said prides himself above the law.
He expressed anger with the President Muhammadu Buhari led government for negotiating from the position of weakness rather than the other way round.
Ijaw fault FG’s peace talk with militants
Meanwhile, Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, worldwide on Thursday expresses doubt about the sincerity of the federal government to dialogue with the Niger Delta people.
A statement issued by IYC Spokesman Comrade Eric Omare said, “the federal government cannot in one breath declare ceasefire and at the same time, forcefully invade Ijaw communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State allegedly looking for militants.
“In the early hours of yesterday, Wednesday, June 15, 2016, military men invaded Tebujor community in Gbaramatu Clan with sporadic gun shots from both sides of the community and arrested six youths of the Community, namely: Eddy Ikpidi, Tekena Uka, Dboy Oboko, Jamaica Oboko, Coasta Kelly Tortor and Atani Yawuru on the basis that they are suspected pipeline vandals.
“While we do not support sabotage of oil facilities considering the negative effects on our environment; the IYC seriously frowns and condemns the continuous invasion and harassments of Ijaw communities and innocent people by the military under the guise of looking for pipeline vandals.
“The military has no reason to embark on continuous invasion of Ijaw communities and arrest our people in the name of looking for Avengers or pipeline vandals. Our communities and people are peaceful and law abiding people.”
Stressing further, he said, “the continuous invasion of Ijaw communities is a demonstration of lack of sincerity on the part of the federal government to genuinely, dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta region to address the renewed militancy and issues affecting the region.
“We wish to state that no meaningful dialogue can take place without sincerity of purpose and confidence in the process by the people of the Niger Delta region and events of the last few days is fast eroding our confidence.
“ We call on the military to carry out deep intelligence gathering and stop the unlawful arrest and invasion of Ijaw communities. The arrested youths of Tebujor community, Gbaramatu Clan, Delta State should be released.”