Youths of Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State have issued a stern warning to an ex-militant warlord, Government Ekpemupolo,aliasTompolo, and others not to venture into their territory in the name of protecting pipelines.
The youths, under the auspices of Ibeno Men-clue Development Association, said they do not need ex-militants to safeguard oil facilities having been host to ExxonMobil and other companies.
In a statement on Wednesday, last week, jointly signed by the coordinator of the association, Mr. Itam Nathaniel Ikotinye, chairman, Christopher Enyina Akpan and seven others, the youths faulted the Federal Government’s decision over the award of the contract, maintaining that the exclusion of Ibeno as host community to ExxonMobil was a gross violation of Local Content Act, the Petroleum Industry Act and other relevant oil and gas laws in the country.
The statement read in part, “We find it difficult to accept any intrusion or external aggression by way of adopting any named group as a sole contractor for the protection of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta to the exclusion of Ibeno host community in Akwa Ibom state.
“Ibeno records the highest production of oil and gas in Nigeria, especially as this action is a negation of the provisions of the Local Content Act and other relevant oil and gas laws in Nigeria.
“We strongly view this action as an incident of marginalization and a conscious attempt by some groups to destabilize the Ibeno oil and gas host community of Akwa Ibom state who has suffered gas flaring and oil spillages for years now.
“We are demanding the inclusion of Ibeno oil and gas community in the protection of oil and gas facilities passing through our communities.
“We shall resist any attempt by any militant or former militant groups or whatever name they might be called to parade themselves as members of Ibeno oil and gas community just for the purpose of grabbing the contract of oil and pipeline protection to the detriment of Ibeno people who are suffering environmental degradation.”
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