Ex-militants tackle oil firm over non-engagement of indigenes, others

VANGUARD Newspaper-

A group, Urhobo Ex-militants Coalition for Freedom, UECF, has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to terminate a pipeline surveillance contract awarded to an oil services firm, (name withheld) over allegations that the firm is insensitive to the plight of the people and not engaging the indigenes as part of its workforce. The Coordinator, Johnson Okpetu, in a statement at the end of a meeting of former ex-militant leaders of Urhobo extraction in Ughelli, the traditional headquarters of Urhobo nation, said bringing the company to doing the right things was the only way the NNPC could guarantee harmony in oil exploration in the area.

The group alleged that the management of the said firm had taken the people of Urhobo nation for granted for too long, adding the wisdom behind awarding pipeline surveillance contracts to indigenous people was for the security of the facilities and also the wellbeing of the people. “At the expiration of the 2-week ultimatum if NNPC refuses to terminate the surveillance contract, the Nigerian people will feel the wrath of renewed insurgency in Nigeria. This time around, we are fully prepared and no amount of counter threats will cause us to back down because it is going to be a fight to the finish,” Okpetu said.

However, an official of the said company, who spoke in confidence, said contrary to the position of the ex-militants, the firm had done more than its contemporaries in engaging the communities in ensuring peace across board. “We have been doing our best to ensure tranquility in our areas of operations. Even though the groups are many and with insatiable demands, the company still meander through by being at its best to maintain superlative relationship with host communities. “We deal directly with host communities, and remember the pipeline runs from Isoko through Urhoboland to Trans Forcados Pipeline in Ijaw land and we have the best relationship with all the communities involved through their President Generals. The ex-militant leaders are not being ignored but our position as management is that they meet their community PGs and channel their grievances if any through them. “We promote peace across our operational areas be it in the Niger Delta region or anywhere in the world. We are one hundred percent Niger Delta indigenous and we are conscious of the need to build friendship at all time which is what we do in our relationship with governments at all levels and communities. However, to practically express our readiness to promote peace, the coalition can as well do a letter to our office and we take it from there. All we want is peace and it comes by talking to one another,” he said.


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