26 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Delta State Deputy Governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro has said that the renewed onslaught on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region by militants is capable of crippling the economy of the region and Nigeria as a whole if it is not nipped in the bud.
He, therefore, called for synergy between host communities, oil companies, and the military in their quest to identify the criminals behind the nefarious activities and forestall further destruction of oil facilities.
Barrister Otuaro who is the Chairman of the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facilities Vandalism stated this in a statement condemned the renewed bombing of the nation’s assets.
He said that the devastating impact of the activities of militants in the region had far reaching implication for the economy of the country as Nigeria depends solely on oil to run the country, calling on all aggrieved individuals in the region to channel their grievances to the right channel and stop destroying oil facilities.
He absolved the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and other ex-militant groups in region from the recent attacks on oil facilities, stressing that the committee has reasons to believe that the new group, which they have identified, were different disgruntled Niger Delta youths who decided to take up arms against the federal government to register their grievance.
Barrister Otuaro who lauded Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for setting up the committee said that the committee has reached out to various community leaders, youth leaders, and other stakeholders in the affected areas and that they have all pledged their support to help the committee achieve its aim.
The Deputy Governor also called on all stakeholders to collaborate with security agencies by way of giving out information that will enable them unmasked those behind the dreaded militant group.
Speaking on reasons why the new militant group sprang up again, the Deputy Governor said neglect of the host communities by successive governments and multinational oil companies may have been one of the reasons the new group decided to take up arms against the government.
He called on the Federal and State governments as well as multinational oil companies to think of ways to develop the region, saying that the situation whereby multinational oil companies live in affluence while their host communities, their next door neighbor, live in abject poverty without any amenities, would not be acceptable to the people.
He, however, stressed that dialogue, and not militarisation of the region, remains the best way to solve the problem of oil facilities vandalism, calling on the Niger Delta Avengers to embrace dialogue as the only way to resolving their grievances.
On the issue of the continuous media war between Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo) and Chief Ayiri Emami, two prominent leaders of the Ijaws and Itsekiris, the Deputy Governor called on the duo to stop their blame games and concentrate on how to work together to move the state forward, stressing that accusations and counter-accusations in the media would only aggravate the already bad situation.
On the offensive by the military in the riverside communities to fish out the perpetrators of oil facilities vandalism, Chairman of the Delta State Advocacy Committee against Oil Facilities Vandalism, Barrister Otuaro, urged the military to live up to their constitutional duties and ensure that the citizens living in those communities were not stripped of their rights to live peacefully in their own communities.
Otuaro also advised that in their bid to ensure the security of oil facilities in the region, the military should also synergize with other stakeholders in the communities and work with intelligence report to avoid arresting innocent citizens.