The Niger Delta crisis worsened yesterday, as a new militant group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), threatened to attack oil and gas facilities in the upland of the oil-rich region.
The new group, which decried what it called Federal Government’s and multinational oil companies’ neglect of the region, gave oil companies 48-hours to evacuate their personnel from the region, especially in the upland.
In an online statement by its spokesman, Aldo Agbalaja, NDGJM threatened to attack Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) at Ekpan in Uvwie Local Government of Delta State as well as the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) at Eleme in Eleme Local Government of Rivers State.
The statement said its decision to change from peaceful approach to violence followed what it called Federal Government’s failure to appreciate and consolidate the peaceful disposition of the people in the upland part of the region.
NDGJM said: “We are asking all oil multinationals still in the upland of our region – Agip, Total, Shell, Mobil, Shorelines, Neconde, E. D. Western, Seplat and others – to commence the evacuation of their personnel from the region, especially in the Ogba/Egi axis of Rivers State, Urhobo/Isoko/Ndokwa axis of Delta State and other upland oil producing areas, within 48 hours.
“We also want to bring it to the attention of the Federal Government and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the refineries in Warri (Urhobo land) and Port Harcourt (Eleme) and the gas plant at Otorogun will come down in a few days.
“We have come at this point to ensure that our oppressors, being the Federal Government, the state governments in the six core Niger Delta states, who have received billions of dollars in the past years but have brought little or no development to the region, and the so-called super-ethnic nations, who have yielded to greed and wickedness and have exposed the rest of us in the oil-rich but deeply impoverished region, to crippling squalor.
“NDGJM is a coalition of forces across the Niger Delta, fighting for the interest of the region. The Federal Government and the oil multinational companies have been making a grave mistake by equating the interest of the Ijaw as that of all the tribes of the region. Indeed, this is a mistake that is about to take a more devastating toll than has ever been seen or experienced in the history of Nigeria.
“Any moment from now, we shall be making a loud statement, which we believe should be loud enough for all to hear and take seriously; afterwards, we will state our demands. We have considered this ‘coming statement’ reluctantly inevitable because of the recalcitrance of federal authorities as well as oil giants. They have decided to ignore calls to reason and have made violence the only option.
“The people of the upland Niger Delta, under whose watch the largest and most critical oil assets are located, have been ignored over the years. The government and the oil companies pander to every whim and cough of those who have violently engaged the state. Just as in the 2009 experience, the Federal Government and oil companies have started yet another round of negotiation with the Ijaw front, in the name of all the people of the Niger Delta.
“This will not work. Since they do not regard the assets in our areas important enough to be protected, we shall root them all out of …Niger Delta. We don’t want to make this mistake any longer: violence pays, as it has become the only voice the government hearkens to.”