Repentant militants in the Niger Delta have made a renewed case for the award of the contract for the security of oil pipelines belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The ex-militants, under the aegis of the Phase two for Peace in the Niger Delta, are also of the opinion that the prevailing peace in the region can be sustained if the Federal Government ensures adequate funding of the amnesty programme.
State Leader of the Forum in Bayelsa, ‘General’ Stephen L. Ebisendei, and another leader, General Salvation Ibena Rufus who spoke in an interview in Yenagoa, Friday, where the ex-militants met to review the state of affairs in the region and passed a vote of confidence on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and presidential adviser on the Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku. The forum agreed to support the president comes 2015.
The forum thanked the Leaders of Izon Ikemi House in the Niger Delta, General Ateke Toms, General Ebikabowei Victor Ben (a.k.a Boy loaf) and General Sobomabo Jackrech (a.k.a Egberipapa) for their immeasurable contribution towards the aspiration of the people in the Niger Delta region, stressing that they should not relax in the oasis as the people are behind their good agenda.
Another leader, General Olotu Woniemi lamented that cases of crude oil theft may have been high because all the over 6,166 ex-militants that were not engaged to protect the pipelines were now roaming the streets because the contract was not awarded to the phase two by the Federal Government which might be the problem.
“We can stop the illegal refineries in the creeks. You can see the difference between when we were in the creeks and we used to have a production capacity of 700 barrels per day pay. Now, we can produce up to 2.9 million barrels per day. The difference is clear. That means if we continue that way, the nation would make more money from oil,” he said.
General Ebisentei also urged the Federal Government to ensure that the presidential amnesty office was not starved of funds because “the presidential adviser has been able to drive the programme successfully over this period.” It has come to our notice that NNPC is implementing a pipeline surveillance contract in-conjunction with the Honourable Minister of petroleum Resources; Mrs. Diezani Allison- Madueke which offers reasonable employment opportunities to oil and gas producing states but the stakeholders of phase two who are from the oil producing communities are not included.
Due to her divide and rule tactics in the petroleum industry, the region is now experiencing insecurity and the bunkering activities is high in place. It is not possible for where you don’t live to have secured a pipeline in Otueke where you do not live.
“We make bold to state here that the effect of this lopsided decision and deliberate neglect of our phase two people will result in anarchy and revolt,” the group stated.
The forum said it had adopted some measures to douse rising tension from the ex-militants who were agitating for employment under the NNPC scheme, and called on the corporation to address the alleged marginalisation.
The group maintained that their knowledge of the state waterways, estuaries and deep water territories should be of immense advantage to the surveillance contract, arguing that their inclusion would discourage a return to criminality.
The forum expressed its readiness to support oil and gas production and exploration activities in the state.
It added that the services of its members would complement the efforts of security agencies in protecting oil installations in the Niger Delta, and hoped that the concerns would be addressed within two weeks.