Some Niger Delta militant groups have demanded the release of $1bilion by the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Account to tackle developmental challenges in the Niger Delta region the same way it approved $1bn to fight insurgency in the North-East or they will begin massive destruction of oil pipelines and facilities.
The threat to destroy oil facilities across the region in a well-coordinated attack, tagged ‘’Cripple the Economy with Zero Crude Production,’’ sparked a major fear, as any destruction could mean lack of funds to finance the 2018 budget.
Leader of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, a coalition of nine militant groups, self-styled “Major General” Johnmark Ezonbi, aka Obama, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, said:
“We demand our own share of the $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account for the development of the Niger Delta within four weeks.”
The group said: “We will ensure that anything that stands on our way will be crushed without mercy. All foreign nationals are hereby advised to leave the region as all our unit commanders have been put on red alert to resume operation zero oil production on the expiration of the four weeks ultimatum.
They also directed their threats to all foreign nationals operating in the region warning them to leave the region to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. They also threatened to deal with leaders of the Niger-Delta region that supported the decision of FG to utilized $1 billion for the North-East region.
“The governors of the South -South will not be spared for being part of that decision to approve $1bn to combat insurgency, while our region suffers. The golden hen that lays the egg has nothing to show for what she gives.
“We want to warn the Federal Government not to take the current ceasefire, which the country is enjoying with the daily crude oil production of between 2.2 to 2.4million barrels of crude production amounting to billions of naira on daily basis for government and which has helped the country get out of recession for granted.
“We want to state categorically that the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Government is wicked, callous, insensitive, and practically negates the principles of natural justice by using resources derived from a neglected region to combat insurgency in the North East in the senseless Boko Haram war to the tune of $1bn from the Excess Crude Oil account.
“Why not Excess Account from the sale of agriculture in the Northern part of the country, why from the creek of the Niger Delta? The Federal Government’s insensitivity to the Niger Delta region development has obviously reached its crescendo, which we will not take, but resist with our might, as this broad day light robbery against the Niger Delta people and ethnic nationality will not be accepted by us.
The open letter further reads, “We are going to resist this perpetual injustice against our long neglected people in the region.
“Imagine up till now, the N6 billion approved for the takeoff of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, has not been released while there is no hope of starting an academic session in the institution this year. Is this how we will continue to live in a country where injustice reigns supreme?
“The four-point agreement that was reached with the Host Communities of Nigeria by the Federal Government has not been approved up till date; the 10,000 pipeline surveillance jobs have also not been approved. Government has not endorsed the gas penalty fund for the Host Communities and 10 licenses of the modular refineries as we speak.
“Even the 16-point demand submitted to Mr. President has not seen the light. That is the reason the Federal Government is skeptical to implement any of the 16- point demands, the group added.”
The militants also cautioned the Federal Government against some Niger Delta jobbers parading Abuja, using the Amnesty Office, Ministries of Niger Delta and Petroleum Resources as their farmlands.
They, however, said: “We must not fail to place on record the genuine efforts of some Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders who have contributed in no small way to the peace process that the Federal Government is enjoying today, including Jude Tabai, son of retired Supreme Court Judge. He brought the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, to the creek.
“RNDA cannot also forget the contributions of Chief Francis Inegeniki of Edo State, a stakeholder in the region, who played major role to persuade us to lay down our arms and accept the federal government’s ceasefire in the interest of the development of the region.
‘’We also note the Pere of Seimbiri Kingdom and former TROMPCOM national chairman, His Majesty Pere Charles Botu, who also made frantic efforts for peace to reign and had been at the forefront fighting for the emancipation of the Niger Delta region.
“The Federal Government should know that the countless efforts of persons like elder statesman, Alabo Graham Douglas and former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo have helped to sustain the existing peace in the creek. Government’s policies and programmes in no way point to any form of development in the long neglected region despite the huge resources the country gets from the region.”