By Appolos Christian
A group under the aegis of Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF), has condemned what it termed as “the continued silence of the Federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari concerning various issues affecting the region, most especially the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and government’s failure to checkmate the discriminatory posture of owners of oil blocs regarding the development of the oil producing communities in the region.”
According to a statement jointly signed by their representatives, General Nkarijo Waribo and Capt. Victor Eyoh, the group said, “records at our disposal, aside from the discretionary award of oil licenses to most of the individuals based on political loyalty, ethnic sentiments, etc.
It has been observed that most of them have been holding on to Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPL) longer than the required period of five (5) years for Offshore areas & Shallow waters and ten (10) years for Deep Offshore/Inland Basins, and the Oil Mining Lease (OML) beyond the mandatory period of thirty (30) years, respectively. Some were issued licenses since 1987 which amounts to over 33 years of their ownership and control of the oil blocs. While, they have continued to enrich themselves from their control of the oil wells, they have left the oil communities devastated and impoverished by refusing to contribute to the development of the States / communities where they operate.”
The statement went on to say, “Secondly, we consider the laissez-faire posture of the Presidency concerning the recent NDDC corruption saga as not very healthy for the nation as Nigerians and foreigners are expectantly waiting to see how the Presidency is going to handle the show of shame displayed by top APC actors from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission and the National Assembly. The can of worms made wide open by ardent criminal-minded appointees of the Federal government in the above-mentioned agencies and commissions in the last few months where the appointed officials openly defended their outrageous expenditures, has made the country the laughing stock of other nations in the African continent and beyond. This current scenario has gone to confirm the former British Prime Minister’s (David Cameron’s) declaration that Nigeria is “fantastically corrupt”. Even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) set up to fight corruption, is also fantastically corrupt……What a shame!
“The Niger Delta Liberation Force, therefore, presents the following demands that the federal government must meet on or before 31st December, 2020: The immediate withdrawal of oil licenses from companies that had held them for over twenty years.
“The immediate removal of Senator Godswill Akpabio from the position of Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the immediate dissolution of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC and reconstitution of a new substantive Board for the Commission.
“The immediate arrest and prosecution of all public officers who were involved in the financial recklessness that occurred in the NDDC, the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“Government should also take immediate action on the matter to underscore its genuine anti-corruption stance or posture and to guard against the popular legal maxim that “Justice delayed is justice denied” as many Nigerians seem to be believe right now that the entire issue will obviously be swept under the carpet as long as the “dramatis personae” are top APC stalwarts.
“Federal Government to urgently direct all the oil companies doing business in the Niger Delta region to relocate to their bases of operation
“We cannot continue to overlook the manner in which the present federal government is treating the Niger Delta region as slaves and second-class citizens. The region must be given its pride of place as the “goose that lays the golden eggs.”
“Finally, we give the Federal government of Nigeria up to 31st day of December, 2020 to meet the above-stated demands, otherwise at the expiration of this ultimatum; we shall be left with no other option than to shut down all oil operations in the region as we are already battle ready.”