MAYOR OF URHOBOLAND CONDEMN ATTACKS ON OIL FACILITIES, BLAMES FG’s ATTITUDE
The Mayor of Urhoboland and notable ex-militant leader, Eshanakpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro has condemned the reported threats and damages done to pipelines in Urhobo and Isoko lands recently.
He said such actions that amount to destruction of national assets should be condemned by all well-meaning citizens of the country, particularly people of the Niger Delta region.
He stated this on Wednesday in a telephone chat with reporters, stating that destroying national assets in the region should not be the best way to call for the attention of the federal government.
He argued that aggrieved members of the public should, rather than resort to violence, open correspondence with the government through trusted channels of communication.
Niger Delta, accriding to the former warlord, needed peace and development and not violent confrontation with the government.
A group, Delta Strike Force, DSF, had reportedly claimed responsibility for damages done to a portion of Kokori pipelines at Erhaike and another one in Ozoro both in Ethiope East and Isoko North local government areas of Delta state.
They hinged their reasons for the destruction on a pipeline surveillance contract of OML 30 and 34 awarded to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who just lost out of the state gubernatorial contest in the just concluded Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC organised general elections in the state.
The militia group was alleged to have given the federal government conditions for the resolution of the violence attacks to include that the contract be withdrawn from the contractor handling the surveillance and awarded to their leaders; that the East-West Road should be fixed for the regional commuters and that gas flaring in the state be stopped immediately.
Other conditions for peace, according to the group, include the re-activation of the Delta Steal Company, DSC and same be brought into the mainstream production sector of the Nigeria economy and the immediate engagement of all youths who were involved in the war against the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA.
Akpodoro argued that in as much as the group has a good case, violence is not a solution but peaceful approach in a healthy engagement with the authority.
However, Akpodoro blamed the federal government for what he described as its poor reward system and lackadaisical approach to resolution of grievances by the citizens.
He noted with consternation why the government ignored several calls from notable quarters to patronise those who stuck out their necks to fight the Avengers adding that, during the armed conflict in 2016 led by the Avengers he was promised by the government through security chiefs that his boys would be settled after their success in the creeks against the Avengers.
He stressed further that after the Avengers were defeated, efforts to cause the federal government to fulfill its promises failed saying he saw the current strife coming and he raised concerns by calling on the government to do the needful but regretted that his calls fell on deaf ears.
Additionally, he maintained that the contract awarded ordinarily should have been given to the ex-militants noting that the former warlords in the troubled areas should have been given “the right of first refusal” rather than awarding it to politically exposed persons.
As a noble personality and peace builder in the region, Akpodoro noted that he had called on authorities as soon as the contract was awarded to a politician intimating them of possible reactions as a result of the pipeline contract awarded to the Senator.
He said persons in government rebuffed his calls a development he said is the tradition of the officials of President Buhari’s administration.
“I approached the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipreiye Sylva; the GCEO NNPCL Mele Kyari; the Managing Director, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, Ali Mohammad Zarah, the current Chief of Defence Intelligence Major General Adebayor, DSS D.O Joseph, Urhobo Traditional rulers, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Sultan of Sokoko and the MD Tantita Security Services, Chief Kestin Pondi,
to see if they could influence the authority to right the wrongs in the award of the pipeline contract, all of that were to no avail.
“It is imperative to tell the world now that I will never intervene in the ongoing crisis as before due to the poor attitude of this government at rewarding loyalty.
“The Buhari administration has no respect for the people and it should go ahead and negotiate with them for the peace of Niger Delta.
“Residents are at the receiving end of the actions of the government and the militia and we shouted that the people should be considered in the actions of the government but they refused to listen.
Those I mentioned earlier should be held responsible if this violent confrontation persists.” The Mayor stated as he called on the FG negotiate with militia group before it goes out of hands.
Pointedly, he stated that he once met the former President Olusegun Obasanjo to appeal to the Buhari’s government over what he described as the wrongful award of the pipeline contract.
Like the DSF, Akpodoro blamed the Ali Zarah-led NPDC and the its NNPCL counterpart for the current violence pervading the area.
Stressing further, Akpodoro recalled that before the 2016 strife led by the Avengers, he had written to senior officials of the current administration including the security chiefs alerting them on impending danger which was a violent reactions of the Avengers coming at the heels of the general elections the previous year which the former President Goodluck Jonathan, lost to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari but his calls were ignored until the militia group struck.