The Pan Niger Delta Forum, backed by a Federal Information Commissioner of the First Republic, Chief Edwin Clark, has warned Northern youth against provoking a crisis in the Niger Delta region, using unnecessary and misleading statements and actions.
The warning came just 48 hours after a coalition of Northern youth, under the auspices of Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups, demanded the termination of a pipeline surveillance contract awarded to a repentant militant from the Niger Delta, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (popularly known as Tompolo). during a protest outside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation headquarters in Abuja.
But PANDEF in a statement from its National Publicity Secretary,
Ken Robinson warned Wednesday evening in Abuja that the threat posed by AAYGs could have serious consequences in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “PANDEF warns that the reported threat by the so-called Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups to paralyze activities at NNPC headquarters, if the said contract awarded to the Ekpemupolo government was not revoked, is not only absurd and misleading, but could also have serious consequences in the Niger Delta region.
“We are sending a serious warning to those misguided Arewa youths and their sponsors. Let them know that the people of the Niger Delta will not tolerate such absurdity.
“PANDEF advises the federal government and management of the titular NNPC Limited to ignore the shenanigans of the alleged Arewa youth groups. The Niger Delta must not be further provoked! Enough is enough!!!
“Tompolo, and for that matter any other capable son or daughter of the Niger Delta, has the right to obtain any contract from, any agency or company, from the Federal Government, more so the NNPC, whose core activities are conducted mainly in the Niger Delta region. .
“Nigeria reportedly loses billions of Naira daily through organized, excessive gross theft by criminals and corrupt officials; so it is not inappropriate to conclude that the so-called Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups were mobilized by the “organized oil thieves” to hinder the renewed efforts of NNPC limited, reduce the stealing of our crude oil, and also, the oil and gas assets to protect the country.
PANDEF notes that the Niger Delta region continues to suffer from marginalization and isolation in critical sectors of the country, especially the oil and gas sector.
“While our people are not denied adequate participation, both management and operations, of the oil and gas industry, including ownership of oil blocks and marginal fields, the sad reality is that people from other parts of the country, some of whom well they don’t even know what crude oil looks like but for what they see in pictures they own most of the fringe oil fields and blocks.
PANDEF further notes that while the Petroleum Industry Act provided a paltry 3 percent of the settlor’s operating costs into the host community development fund, it boldly allocated a whopping 30 percent of NNPC’s oil and gas profits for a vague Frontier Oil Exploration Fund.
“The composition of the board and management of the new NNPC Limited is another troubling issue, it’s the same old story of inequality and one-sidedness. The South-South geopolitical zone, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the country’s petroleum production and should be bona fide shareholders, has only one member on its board of directors.
“Meanwhile, oil and gas exploration activities have continued to erode our hitherto lush, healthy ecosystem and destroy the livelihoods of indigenous peoples.
“Critical infrastructure projects in the region also continue to suffer from neglect or total neglect. Given such an unpleasant background in the Niger Delta, the reported protest of the said Arewa youths over the surveillance contract awarded to the Supreme Government Ekpemupolo is most brazen and annoying.
“The fact that the people of the Niger Delta have remained calm despite the cruel injustice that has been done to them does not mean that the people do not know what to do or lack the will to do it.”