Hundreds of Niger Delta ex-millitants of phases one to three of the Federal Government amnesty programme marched to the Government House in Asaba, the Delta State capital, to protest the “hijacking of the pipeline surveillance contract for the Trans-Forcados Pipeline”.
It took the combined efforts of various security agencies to calm down the protesters who blocked the Anwai road leading to the gate of the Government House on Wednesday.
The aggrieved youth called on Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, to “intervene to avoid crisis in the state as a result of the re-awarding of the surveillance contracts to people who are not familiar with the terrain”.
Speaking with journalists, Lord Tennyson, leader of the group, claimed that about 1,000 angry youth and ex-agitators from the 111 communities of Ijaw, Urhobo, Itsekiri and Isoko ethnic nationalities, who are hosts to the OML 30 facilities, had earlier come to Asaba to make complaints, but stated that nothing had been done.
Addressing the youth, Okowa called on those trying to foment crisis in the state using the oil surveillance contract as a ploy, to desist as such could cause economic challenges.
“This protest is happening on the day we are holding our security council meeting and the security agencies are here. The agencies have been working hard with the support of our people and our youth to keep the Trans Forcados line safe and we thank God that because of the safety of that pipeline, the oil production of this nation has increased,” he said.
“I want to advise that whosoever is plotting against the people — those who are benefiting and through the process of surveillance contracts are being empowered — should allow Delta State remain peaceful, because, in peace, we will be able to produce and export more crude oil and in that export, the nation and the state gains.
“It is our hope that nobody, especially as the oil prices are going down, should take any action that will foil the quantity of oil that we are currently producing.”
He advised the youth to remain peaceful as his administration would take necessary actions to address their grievances.
He continued: “We have held series of meetings with stakeholders and we have long agreed on the fact that it is best to secure our pipelines when we are in charge by ourselves; you cannot come and watch over someone else’s backyard. The people who own the place know best how to protect their property and if since June 2017 that the Trans Forcados line has been open, it has been functional and our oil production and export has continued to increase and there has been no complaint, I will find it very disturbing if a new contract is being awarded not to talk about awarding the said contract under a higher cost.
“That will definitely not be responsible and I believe that Mr. President will not accept this. I am very confident that he will not support such a cause and I do not believe that the Nigerian nation realises that as at today we still heavily depend on the proceeds from oil and if our oil production has improved to the level that we have some level of comfort as a nation and as a state, I do not think that an action that will lead to the disruption of our oil production and export is something that will be welcome.
“Our nation is doing well and anything that is being done that will cause the reversal of the progress that we are making in terms of oil production will be an economic sabotage and I believe that any action being taken now to re-award the surveillance job to a new company that will come to displace the locals will be economic sabotage.
“I do not think that is what we will support as a state. So, we are asking you to please be patient. Since you have decided to follow the due process to protest peacefully. We thank and appreciate you for the information that you have passed to us. We will act as quickly as possible to ensure that there will be no disruption to the progress that we are making thus far.”
SOURCE :sahara reporters (news)