Tasks Niger Delta youths, elders to tackle situation
A group Concerned Professionals Congress (CPC), has condemned the repeated attacks on oil and gas pipelines in Niger Delta by militant group called the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) which claimed responsibility.
CPC therefore admonished the youths, elite and elders of the oil-rich region to mobilise and stem the trend before it is too late.
The group particularly expressed worries about the scare tactics of the militant gang with the issuance of a two-week ultimatum to owners and operators of oil companies in the region to shut-down, evacuate their staff and leave.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, CPC Coordinator, Tukur Tilde, and its Chief Media Strategist, Emeka Nwapa, said the quit order was in bad taste in view of its negative effects on the nation’s critical oil revenue.
It said the militants’ mindless bombings would bring untold strain and pressure on the entire region especially the toiling masses for whom the federal government has finalised series of critical developmental programmes.
The statement noted that while addressing journalists in Asaba, Delta State, yesterday after its emergency meeting to address the ‘disturbing trends in the Niger Delta’, the pro-good governance advocacy group tasked traditional rulers, community leaders, elders, youths, students, clergy, professional associations and the elders’ councils of the region to prevail on members of the militant group to stop the bombings which it described as a tinder box.
It stated that the reasons given by “the faceless group portrayed them as cheap characters pursuing personal agendas that should be condemned by right-thinking citizens.”
The group urged the youths of the region to expose the masterminds of the pipelines bombings, stressing the need for them to resist moves to use their territories for acts of vandalism of strategic national assets thereby capable of plunging the innocent and helpless people of the Niger Delta into more untold hardships.
‘’These so-called Niger Delta Avengers do not stand for the Niger Delta people because nobody supports their senseless bombings and willful vandalism of strategic national assets in their land? Nobody supports such despicable actions which are clearly against the people they claim to be fighting for.
“Even before these so-called agitations resumed, President Muhammdu Buhari, in a rare display of statesmanship had indicated a commitment to executing more people-oriented projects in the region such as the immediate cleaning up of Ogoni land (commencing early next month) in compliance with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report Implementation and the completion of the East-West road and the Calabar-Lagos railway,’’ Tilde said.
He observed that the resort to pipelines bombings and other criminalities does not address the fundamental issues facing the region but could only jeopardise the core interests of the people of the region including setting them against the rest of the country thereby breeding unnecessary animosity, distrust and disharmony.
‘’The aggravated bombings of critical oil and gas platforms such as Forcados pipeline, Bonga Oil field, Chevron trunk lines particularly the latest issuance of a 14-day quit order to all legitimate operators of oil blocks in the region is purposeless and misguided. We appeal to the good people of the region and other well-meaning Nigerians to rise up and nip this ugly trend in the bud. It is a bad omen,’’ he said.
The group praised the efforts of some governors, traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders and public-spirited persons across party lines to engage certain people and interests believed to have the ears of members of the militant group to rethink. It charged the youths of the region to play greater roles in the conflict-resolution process, saying that the future of the area belongs to them.
According to the group, the attacks have caused daily losses of exportable 250,000 barrels of oil, disruption of crude supply to Kaduna and Warri refineries, disruption of gas supply and the attendant black-out nationwide due to a huge drop in power generation and distribution.