Agitators under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants Forum have asked the Federal Government to revoke the 12-month N48billion pipeline surveillance contract awarded to ex-militant warlord, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo.
They threatened to resume hostilities by attacking oil installations in the state if the if their demands were not met.
In a petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, copied to security agencies and made available to journalists, the agitators claimed that they were undermined by the Federal Government regarding pipelines that pass through Akwa Ibom State.
In the petition signed by General Johnson Solomon, State Coordinator and Comrade Godwin Edohoaqua, State Secretary, the group said youths of the state from oil-producing communities ought to have been carried along.
They maintained that oil communities in the state should be factored in the oil pipeline contract because they bore the brunt of environmental degradation over the years as a result of oil exploration and exploitation.
The Federal Government,penultimate Monday, renewed a N4billion monthly contract for the surveillance of oil pipelines to Tompolo.
The petition also called on the FG and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to revoke the contract with Tompolo to accommodate former Niger Delta agitators from Akwa Ibom.
“In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan was about to hand over to President Muhammadu Buhari, ex-militants from Akwa Ibom State in our numbers protested to the National Assembly against similar contract which did not accommodate us.
“Leadership of the National Assembly with heads of security agencies received our protest letter and assured us that Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants will be accommodated in future contracts”
“It is wrong for the Federal Government to shortchange the youths of Akwa Ibom State by awarding such a bogus contract to a sectional former leader of Ex-Militants while gas and oil pipelines crisscrosses our land but we are not engaged. We won’t accept such marginalization.
“We are giving the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to address the situation or we will embark on a marathon protest that will shut down oil and gas production in Akwa Ibom State.”
“Our youths have refused to be involved in oil theft and pipeline vandalism because of our patriotism for Nigeria and the agreement we signed with the Federal Government during Amnesty but that should not be a criteria for us to be marginalized in the award of such a contract,” the release stated.
The group advised the Federal Government to award the contract in sections to accommodate youths of all the oil-producing states in the region to avoid renewed agitation and possible negative actions that will defeat the purpose of government’s intentions.
“We are familiar with the terrain and pipeline routes running across the state and only youths from Akwa Ibom State can protect the pipelines better than a visitor. If our youths are engaged in such a project, the rate of unemployment will reduce,” the group averred.