A socio-political group in the volatile oil and gas region of Nigeria, the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC), is a on the war-path with the country’s leading opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) over alleged move by government to hand over maritime security business to a former militant leader who is also a prominent Ijaw chief in the Delta State axis of the oil region.
ACN Spokesperson Lai Mohammed, had recently voiced his party’s disapproval of an alleged decision of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to handover the countrys Maritime Security to Global West Vessel Specialist Agency (GWVSL).
The company is allegedly owned by Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), an Ijaw high chief and ex-militant leader. If the alleged deal turns out to be true, he will be managing the countrys territorial security for a maximum term of 20 years and the investment is worth N169 billion in local currency, and around $1.00 billion
But the Secretary of the Niger Delta group, John Sailor , told AkanimoReports on Monday on telephone that they are of the view that only those who have been stealing the nation’s oil and allowing illegal vessels and ships into the country should have a sleepless night over the 10 years renewable concession partnership between Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and GWVSL.
According to the group, those opposed to the concession are those who have been feeding fat from stealing the nation’s oil all these years, saying; “And now that active steps are being taken to end all that, they are afraid. Those stealing the nation’s oil and using the money to intimidate the rest of us have come to know that the game would soon be over hence they are against the concession.
”We have observed of late the false alarm being raised in certain quarters by some Nigerians, especially after the first outburst of the spokes-person of ACN) Lai Mohammed over the wisdom of the Federal Government to handover the Nation’s Maritime Security to Global West Specialist Agency (GWVSL) and the petty rumours making the round that GWVSL belongs to f Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), an illustrous son of the Niger Delta region.
”We are not amazed that some Nigerians are not comfortable with this laudable decision of the Federal Government aimed at checking the stealing of the nation’s oil and preventing illegal vessels and ships into Nigerian territorial waters. It is expected that those who have been feeding very fat from stealing of the nation’s oil must oppose the wise decision of the Federal Government regarding the 10 years renewable concession partnership between Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and GWVSL.
”But have those associating GWVSL with Tompolo done their home work to know if actually the company belong to him? We implore such people to go to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja and they will know that GWVSL has nothing to do with Tompolo as we only know that it belongs to somebody from the Niger Delta region. But is it wrong if it belongs to Tompolo? Clear conscience fear no accusation. And if we must ask again; who is afraid of Tompolo?”, they said.
They claimed that the ex-militant leader hates injustice and illegal activities and one man that wants a better deal for all Nigerians. He is not a politician and do not belong to any political party, but just that he wants the betterment of this country and he is also a freedom fighter for the development of the neglected Niger Delta and its oppressed people.”
Continuing, they said, ”we know that the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austen Oniwon, an engineer, and the fuel subsidy cartel are planning seriously to frustrate the goodwill of President Goodluck Jonathan and we want the country to know that Nigeria belongs to all of us. The people of the oil-rich Niger Delta region are not envious of anybody even when the Yorubas and Hausas have been mismanaging our resources for the past 40 years, we never made noise about it and it was only recently that the people of the region started crying out about their marginalisation in employment, development and empowerment in the oil companies and by the Federal Government.
”We are not happy at all that those who have made so much wealth from the resources of the Niger Delta are bent on frustrating President Jonathan and at the same time using the resources to intimidate the rest of us from the region. But we warn that, time is coming very soon when all those using the wealth of the region to oppress this country, it will become history and the Niger Delta people will laugh last”.
The rest of their views went thus: ”We know that the NNPC big boss is working round the clock to frustrate every Niger Deltan in the oil industry as well as the people of the region who are growing everyday in the oil and gas sector hence he has been inciting the various tribes against each other so that they can be disorganised to pave way for him to encourage the multinationals to execute projects to the detriments of the people of the region that have built adequate capacity in the industry. We want to implore the NNPC GMD to put an end to the dirty games he is playing in the Oil and Gas Industry because if there is any clash between the various tribes as a result of the resources from the Niger Delta region, we are going to hold him responsible.
”We are equally imploring those dragging the name of Tompolo into things that are not in his character to put a halt to it and they should stop getting wrong information capable of causing problem from the NNPC. Austen Oniwon wants to cause trouble in Niger Delta because of his selfish interest. Let him place national interest above his own. The NNPC GMD should take time out to look at the Nigerian Content Act signed by President Jonathan April 22, 2010.
Has the NNPC boss ever thought about the criminal marginalisation of the people of the Niger Delta in the oil companies? Let him take a critical look at those enjoying the oil subsidy and also look at those picking the major employment in Shell, Chevron, Mobil and NNPC. Certainly, they are the Yorubas and Hausas. But do you think that the people of the Niger Delta will be happy to face this oppression forever? Even when our people are licking their wounds that they are not being carried along in employment and contracts in the Oil and Gas Sector, the NNPC GMD is not bothered as he takes pride in manipulating jobs to Saipem, Daewoo, O.P.I. and Acergy to the detriment of our brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta region, they also said.
”We are appealing to the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Ernest Nwapa to take active steps in the empowerment/employment of the Niger Delta people because it is our oil and if you fail to do as expected, we will start accusing you of campaigning about the Nigerian Content Act without implementing. Practice what you preach. The patient of our people is running out because they have been pushed to the wall for too long and cannot take any more from Lai Mohammed and his likes”.