A coalition of militant groups from the nine states of the Niger Delta led by the Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters (SEFF) has backed a former Niger Delta warlord, Government Ekpemupolo popularly known Tompolo, on his threat to shut down all major flow stations, oil wells and pipelines owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The group also vowed to cripple oil installations in the region if the Federal Government fails to inaugurate the substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) after seven days, a similar ultimatum issued by Tompolo.
The militants are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to call Akpabio and his cronies to order and immediately inaugurate the board to avert the looming huge blow on crude oil production.
While supporting the ongoing protest of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, the militants said after the ultimatum, they would shut down the Escravos-Warri to Kaduna NNPC major delivery crude lines, the Escravos Lagos Atlas Cove and the Trans-Escravos Warri-Kaduna gas line supplying electricity to Abuja.
They also threatened to disrupt the operations of the Trans-Forcados 48-inch terminal underwater Shell/NNPC crude pipeline and the Chevron RMP24 Clough Creek if Akpabio refuses to allow the Federal Government inaugurate the NDDC board.
The coalition in a statement issued on Monday through an electronic mail at the end of an emergency meeting convened by the SEFF’s Commanding Officer, ‘General Agadagba Obus popularly called Thunder, said the Trans-Nembe Bonny Creek Crude Pipeline would not be excluded from the coordinated operation.
The militants in the statement said: “And if Akpabio refuses to yield to this noble piece of advice and still go against the common interest of the Niger Delta people and decide to continue to hold the entire Niger Delta region to ransom and refuse to let go his grip, the economic consequences of our planned action should be on him.
“The Presidency and the Federal Government should hold Akpabio, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa responsible. The Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters and the other agitating militant groups should not be held responsible for whatever befalls the region.
“We want to make it clear that with the way things are going, President Buhari, who was elected to provide good governance for the welfare and betterment of the Niger Delta people and Nigerians at large, has refused to listen to cries of the Niger Delta people”.
The militants said they would not fold their arms and allow Akpabio and his cohorts to rubbish the collective will and aspirations of the Niger Delta people.
They said Akpabio’s strangulation of the NDDC was frustrating the tireless peace efforts of some political leaders like the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-agege.
The militants noted that Akpabio’s grip on the NDDC under the guise of conducting a forensic audit was a ploy to shortchange other states in the Niger Delta region.
They said despite not being part of the ongoing secession agitation in the Southeast, the federal government still turned deaf ears to their agitation for the inauguration of the NDDC board.
They said: “It is high time Mr. President and the APC-led federal government listened to the outcry of the large population of the Niger Delta region and urgently inaugurate the NDDC board for the interest of peace before it is too late.
“Maybe the Presidency does not like the way the Niger Delta region is calm despite ongoing disturbances in the country. The federal government should know that the Niger Delta region is the mainstay of the economy of this country.
“Now we are asking them peacefully to inaugurate the board of the NDDC but they are listening to one man, when we start bringing down all oil installations after seven days, we won’t listen to anybody. Nobody will calm us down, not even the amnesty boss”.