Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Ex-militants back protesters, threaten attacks on oil facilities

A coalition of nine groups of ex-militants in the Niger Delta has declared its resolve to resume hostilities against major oil and gas facilities in the region if the Federal Government fails to meet the demands of the #EndSARS protesters across the country.

The coalition, under the aegis of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, also expressed its support for the ongoing protests across the country, saying this “was based on the open inequality in the distribution of wealth and development in the country.”

The Punch gathered that the group rose from an emergency meeting at an undisclosed location in Delta State in the early hours of Tuesday and announced its “preparedness to disavow the ceasefire accord with the Federal Government and engage the military forces.”

A communiqué signed by the RNDA leader, ‘Major General’ Johnmark Ezonebi, aka Obama, declared that the militants “will engage the troops attached to the proposed Operation Crocodile Smile and resume attacks on some identified oil facilities in the region if issues of poor welfare, armed oppression and inequality in the standard of living between the citizens and political elites are not addressed.”

The communiqué, a copy of which was obtained by Punch, explained that the leadership of the RNDA “has directed its striking force unit commanders in all the nine militant groups to be on standby and maintain visibility on identified locations with study and locations striking methods.”

It read in part, “We may resume heavy destruction of major crude oil pipelines and their platforms, including the major gas distribution pipelines from Escravos-Warri-Kaduna.

“Also targeted are major target pipelines, including the Chevron Valve platform located at Abiteye, Warri-South Local Government Area, Delta State, and this is one of Chevron’s most significant platforms and it serves as a connecting point where all other Chevron’s Niger Delta platforms link up; and Shell underwater Forcardos 48-inch export pipeline, which connects from the Clough Creek through the River Ramos Creek delivery line to the Forcardos Terminal, a major and one of the Nigeria highest crude delivery pipeline will be brought down as well as the major Escravos trans Lagos pipeline linking Warri to Lagos.

“The major gas pipeline that supplies both Lagos and Abuja with constant electricity supply will be cut off and other several gas and oil pipelines belonging to the NNPC located near Warri within the hinterland will also be attacked.

“The major Chevron main electricity feedback pipelines located at the Escravos Tank Farm at the Ciera Creek will not be left out in this well-coordinated attack; the major one of the highest crude oil-producing wells owned by Chevron, which are RMP23 and RMP24, all located near Dibi in Delta State and contribute majorly to the daily crude oil production chain of the country will all be blown up and cut to zero level and the Bunny Nembe Creek trunk pipeline located at the Bonny Export Terminal line will not be left out.

“In addition, the RNDA urgently demands the release of the N98bn gas flare penalty fund to host oil communities through the leadership of the National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Dr Mike Emuh.

 “We also demand the urgent release and implementation of the 10,000-pipeline surveillance security contract jobs for host communities.

“The decision by the militant groups to support the protesting youths was based on the open inequality in the distribution of wealth and development in the country.

“We, the agitating militant groups in the creeks, are lending our voice to the demands of our great resilience Nigerian youths based on the fact that Nigeria is a blessed nation full of abundance of so much untapped natural resources, wherefore we demand for a better Nigeria that the welfare of the citizens should be serious taken into account.

“Every region and its citizenry first of all got 10 per cent in every revenue derived by country sourced either from oil and other sources just to cater for the welfare of the citizens of this country before the revenue will be shared to the three tiers of government by the central government, while the oil producing communities will get five per cent front line charge from the oil revenue and will be directly paid to the host communities and not to the governors of the Niger Delta states.”

The communiqué added, “We want to put it on record that President Muhammadu Buhari is not to be blamed entirely for what is happening, but we blame some ministers handling sensitive areas of the economy and the National Assembly members.

“While the citizens are making sacrifices in the areas of adjusting to harsh economic policies of government, the aides of President Buhari and members of the National Assembly are living large in opulence.

“Even members of the RNDA made sacrifices to agree to a ceasefire in 2016 in order to allow the President Buhari-led APC Federal Government to consolidate on its renewed policy thrust for his anti-corruption fight and economic growth, job creation and transforming policies of massive infrastructural developmental strides within the Niger Delta region and the country at large.

“But the National Assembly members and the political class are pushing the people to the wall and we are ready to fight back.”

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